It has been years since TW came in to play for the IHI, 17 years I reckon. Well my memory is no longer what it used to be so I say it is too long to remember. I remember him as a chubby, smart ass kid. Tom has been in fact a very cerebral kind of goalie, a change from the previous couple we had. They were neither very memorable for their goaltending nor that sharp. Tom would get under player’s skin, so to speak: f.ck with your minds!, he used to say. This certainly worked a treat on me. But his on ice antics were memorable – I have been fortunate to witness him stonewalling the overwhelming Finns in a 1-1 draw in those early years in Marianske Lazne. The same team went on to the finals that year. They simply couldn’t believe how a bunch of misfits could stifle these smooth skating and passing Finns. Much like the current NY Rangers the goalkeeper gave us instant cred, we suddenly had a shot at winning every game. And that is no mean feat, especially since we had plenty of guys who could self implode at any given moment… Roger, and
…. Roger and Ted Brezina and Art Rubin……..and hmmmm I guess, yours truly.
Buy a suit or maybe a car, or plan a wedding. We all can learn from this guy.
Few people know but Tom was also part owner of the defunct pro franchise London Racers. You would be right in thinking that he couldn’t be the guy designing those fab hockey shirts we could hardly afford, NO, he was the clever guy telling Roger and I that we were Skint. Roger and I were all heart, Tom was all about hard facts!
While working a full time job as a fund manager Tommy played full time hockey in his UK pro come back – first for the Haringay Racers and then later on when he was traded for a bag of pucks to the hallowed West London power house the Slough Jets franchise. Their fans still ask for autographs anytime he happens to venture anywhere near Heathrow Airport!
His official UK life time winning record wasn’t much to write home about, but he was a consummate Playoff performer, When team he played for actually managed to get into the playoffs. The numbers really only tell half the story. You need to understand that Roger Black and Steve Fullan were playing D!
2000-01 Haringey Greyhounds EPIHL 13 6.75 .849 |
2001-02 Haringey Greyhounds EPIHL 8 7.94 .870 |
2002-03 Haringey Racers EPIHL 33 7.41 .855 |
2003-04 Slough Jets EPIHL 3 3.33 .884 | Playoffs 2 4.00 .884
2004-05 Slough Jets EPIHL 28 3.50 .891 | Playoffs 7 2.15 .932
2005-06 Slough Jets EPIHL 1 11.84 .667 |
Willsy’s legacy: can’t think of many really. Other than knowing never to invest into hockey. I am certainly a much thriftier guy after many years of interaction with Tom. But the London Rangers battle cry: Goon’m! is vintage Tom’s and Rangers will stick with it for as long as the club exists.