IT IS MINUS FIVE DEGREES in Budapest's City Park in the little square on Olof Palme stny where before me the neo-Baroque extravaganza of the Varosligeti Mujegpalya is shrouded in early morning mist. Across the way in Hosok tere, the statuary of the Seven Chieftains of the Magyars looms out at me through the fog like Tolkien Nazgul. I am at one of the best places in Europe in winter time according to the Top-10 list of Lonely Planet, but the wind's chill has struck me to the marrow, as if I have woken from a half-century of frozen slumber.
Back then, Imre Francsek's City Park Ice Rink building, and the huge open-air rink beyond, was home ice for Budapesti Korcsolyázó Egylet (BKE Budapest), and for one of Europe's greatest players before he fled to Australia. I am early and the place is still empty, but I swear I hear muffled sounds as I approach the entry. The hiss of skates, the crack of pucks on boards, the cheering of triumphant fans. I rise up the steps to the interior of the rink's porte chochere and on the wall before me is the memorial of the Hungarian Ice Hockey Hall of Fame that bears his name.
Born in Budapest on March 5th 1915, he was the only son of Laszlo and Chrestenci. He first played for BKE Budapest — the first OB I bajnokság Champions — who dominated the top line of the Hungarian Ice Hockey Championships for a decade, 1936-46. He represented Hungary in seven World Championships and in the 1936 Olympics at Garmisch-Partenkirchen. During the Second World War, he was a displaced person who had lived in refugee camps in Europe. Between 1940 and 1942, he played for Budapesti Budai TE (BBTE Budapest), returning to BKE Budapest in 1943. In 1948 he played in Austria for EC Kitzbühel then emigrated to Australia in 1949 and first lived at Bonegilla migrant camp near Wodonga in Victoria.
He played for the Pirates in the Victorian association and represented that state in the 1949 Goodall Cup. In 1950, he transferred to the Blackhawks in Melbourne and was joined a short while later by fellow Hungarian, Tommy Endrei. He played in a Raiders jersey, but possibly only for the International vs Australia games in which the Internationals wore that jersey during the late 1940s and early-1950s. He also became coach of the 'Hawks in Melbourne that year. In 1952, he co-founded Continental Carry Food with Czech-born Parisian restauranteur, Andre Schwatz. It was a phone-order, chef-prepared, continental evening meal delivery service. He served as VIHA president in 1953 and 1954, through one of the most turbulent phases in its history, when the amateur status of "New Australians" was brought into sharp focus.
He is remembered here as an intelligent player and a good tactician with highly-developed skills. Described as an excellent skater, stickhandler and shot for goal he was a complete Canadian-style player and died at 66 in Fitzroy, Melbourne, in 1981. Widely regarded as one of the best Hungarian players of all time, Hungary's Most Skillful Player of the Year Award established in 1990 is named the Miklós Award in his honour.
The memorial of the Hungarian Ice Hockey Hall of Fame at the City Park Ice Rink, Budapest.
Ross Carpenter, 'Miklos, Sandor (1915 - 1981)', Legends of Australian Ice, Melbourne, Australia, http://icelegendsaustralia.com/bio-miklos.html, accessed online .
1. The doctor of laws: Sandor Miklós (1915-1981), Ross Carpenter, June 2015. Online