Habib Sursock.. The journey of the flying pharaoh on the ice

Habib Sursock.. The journey of the flying pharaoh on the ice

In November 1932, the captain of the English “Lions” ice hockey team came out to the press to say: “We succeeded in hiring an Egyptian player who plays ice hockey as Hussein Hegazy used to play football, he is the best player in our ranks now. They welcomed our new player Habib Sursock.”

A news item monitored by the French newspaper “Excelsior”, in which it referred to the statements of the captain, “JCMagwood”, in which he praised his new Egyptian teammate, who had not yet completed his twentieth year.

Report of the Excelsior newspaper in its issue of November 2, 1932

An Egyptian with an unfamiliar name like Sursock, and he plays a game that cannot be played in Egypt, whose geographical nature did not know the fall of the snow, and even excelled in it so that his performance is compared to the performance of the Egyptian football father Hussein Hegazy in football, he was a great motivation towards searching for Sursock’s journey over the ice of the English.

Who is Habib Sursock?

The Egyptian, of Lebanese origin, Habib Sursock was born in Cairo in 1913 in Saray Al-Jazirah (its current location is the Zamalek Marriott Hotel) to the Sursock family, some of whose members came to Egypt in the mid-nineteenth century AD.

Habib opened his eyes to the world to find himself the son of one of the richest family in the Arab world, whose sons occupy important leadership positions in Lebanon and Cairo. He began his first steps with sports in the heart of Al-Jazira Club, which was the preserve of the English community in Cairo and the elite of Egyptians.

At a time when football took its first steps and was certainly far from the interests of Al-Jazira club’s pioneers, Habib played other games, especially tennis, which he excelled in since childhood. In his teens, Habib moved to Switzerland, where he was introduced to ice hockey.

Switzerland.. First steps on the ice

Al-Masry began his first journey with the game when he was eight years old on the Swiss ice, and began his professional journey with the game before he was eighteen years old, where he played in the ranks of the “Le Rosey” team, which played the final of the Swiss League Championship in 1931 and 1932 and lost them both times. Against the Davos team.

Despite losing both matches, Sursock won the praise of the Swiss press in both matches. The Neue Zürcher Nachrichten newspaper, covering the 1932 final, said that Sursock was the best player in his team, which prompted the Swiss national team to use him to participate at the international level.

Report of the 1931 Swiss League Final from the Neue Zürcher Zeitung

Report of the 1932 Swiss League Final from the Neue Zürcher Nachrichten

Before the Egyptian completes his twentieth year, he will leave Switzerland for England, which will witness the brilliance of his star and brilliance.

London..glory and fame

Habib Sursock joined the “London Lions” in 1932, and there he began a new journey on the English ice, where his brilliance prompted the England national team to use him among its ranks.

In March 1932, the English newspaper “The Daily Mirror” – which you will find a lot of mention in this article – wrote about the England national team, which will host the US national team in an international tournament, in which it said that Habib Sursock, who is 20 years old, had become available, which would make the national team The Englishman enters the match with the strongest available squad.

In the formation written by the newspaper, the name of Habib Sursock appears within the offensive line, and next to his name we find the name “London Lions”, the first club that Habib played for during his stay in England.

The Daily Mirror report on March 20, 1933

After a single season with the London Lions, the Egyptian striker moved to the Queen’s team.

In November 1933, with the start of the new season in England, Habib will begin to appear in the Queen’s squad, which was published in a report by the newspaper “The Daily Mirror” on November 8 about Habib Sursock being the only Egyptian in his team controlled by the Canadians.

The Daily Mirror report on November 8, 1933

The following days will witness two severe injuries to Habib, the first during a league match in which he suffered a concussion, and then a few days later he will suffer a shoulder injury during a test match for the England team against France.

Report of The Daily Mirror, dated November 22, 1933, about the England-France match

Habib will return again to participate with his team and with the England national team the following year, and for the first time his great skill in another game, tennis, will be mentioned in a report published in February 1934 in the newspaper “Evening Despatch” under the title “Egyptian Star” in which she referred to the history of Sursock, she mentioned that he was born into a rich family in Cairo and that he represented England and Switzerland at the international level in ice hockey, in addition to representing the Egyptian national team in tennis.

The Evening Despatch report in February 1934

Sursock left the “Queen’s” team after the end of the season and returned to Cairo, before the Richmond Hawks club succeeded in including him to play with him for two seasons, which is Al-Masry’s last stop with ice hockey in England. His childhood is tennis.

Habib Sursock in the No. 8 shirt while playing for the Richmond Hawks

Sursock and tennis

We don’t have much information about Habib Sursock’s tennis journey. This game, which has not been documented for its history in Egypt, like the most popular games, but what we have reached confirms to us the value of Habib in the history of Egyptian tennis.

In this picture, we see the Egyptian team preparing to participate in the Davis Cup tennis, with Habib Sursock in the middle, who is referred to in the written words below the picture as the captain of the Egyptian team.

Sursock also played an important role in bringing the best tennis players to participate in the tournaments that were held in Egypt, when he held the position of Secretary of the Egyptian Federation for the game, led by the Spaniard Manuel Santana and the Italian Nicola Petrangelli.

As for his most important role in the Egyptian Tennis Federation, it came in the efforts made by Sursock, which granted Egypt three titles in the Grand Slam tournaments in the fifties of the last century, after persuading Jaroslav Drobny, the world number one in tennis, to participate in tournaments under the Egyptian flag after escaping from Czechoslovakia.

A successful move by Sursock, Drobney rewarded him when he awarded Egypt and Africa the only title in the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in 1954. This came after he won the Roland Garros titles in 1951 and 1952, in which he also participated as an Egyptian player.

Yaroslav Drobny

Sursock.. and the 1952 revolution

Sursock did not reap the fruits of the achievements made by Drubni under the banner of the Egyptian flag. After the 1952 revolution, his family suffered and his family was forced to return to Lebanon, while Habib joined them after several months he spent in prison until the Lebanese presidency intervened to release him so that Sursock lived his life between Lebanon and Egypt, until He died in Cairo in 1981 after a long journey with sports in which he etched his name in the sports history of the country.

the message

“Good evening,

I hope you are in the best condition.

During this period, I am writing an article about an Egyptian man named Habib Sursock, who was born in Cairo in 1913 and died there in 1981. I get the feeling that you are related to this man. If my guess is correct, please reply, I have some questions about Habib Sursock that I can’t find answers to.”

The reply came the next day:

“Yes, I have knowledge of the man, but I want to know the purpose of the topic and where it will be published?”

After answering the questions:

“Yes, I am Nisha Sursock. The man you are asking about is my father.”

That message was to a Facebook account for a man whose name ends with the surname Sursock with some information in his account about his presence in Cairo during the study period. A letter sent with no hinge on hopes became the most important in the search for the story of Habib Sursock. With her, all the threads were connected and the puzzles were solved with a large amount of information, which Nisha gave with love to his father and with full awareness of the importance of documenting the journey of the flying pharaoh on the ice.

The press .. the art of doubt and attempt.

Sources

Excelsior صحيفة newspaper archive

Archive of The Daily Mirror

Evening Despatch Archive

Archive of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung

Archive of the Neue Zürcher Nachrichten . newspaper

Habib Sursock Family Archive

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