St. Louis Amateur Hockey Hall of Fame







We grew up in a broken family. I think I was about 12 or 13 and Tom was 2 years older. The Blues came to town in 1967 and we were hooked on this sport they called Hockey. It became our religion everyday when we go home from school, we would put on our hockey stuff. And walk one block away to Hope Baptist parking lot and play street hockey. We wanted to learn. To ice skate and eventually play hockey. We were raised by our Mom, and on a secretaries salary. The Dream would remain a Dream. The deal was we could play ice hockey but, we would have to pay for it ourself and one of us would have to drive. Well when I was 14 and Tom was 16 we got jobs working for our cousin as painters (just picture the three stooges). That's when this story of Greatness began. I remember when we bought our first pair of skates at Kmart for 20 dollars. Money was tight so we bought them big (had to wear 4 or 5 pairs of socks). We would go to every Midnight Madness at the Ice Chateau because we could skate for 6 hours for 2 dollars. Tom was always the leader and would rent the ice for us to play on that magical sheet of ice that he yearned for. The time slot we got was always a couple of months away and Tom would recruit our neighborhood street team too play. We always got great ice times, usually Sunday morning around 5 a.m. This didn't matter to us. Then we joined Olson - Whitworth hockey school. That was when the seed was sown. I know you wanted me to keep it short and sweet but this must be known we started play adult league hockey A league B league C league anything to get on that magical sheet of ice. We started getting better and better we played on 2 or 3 teams at a time (can anybody say addiction). That gives you our background. But this is not about me this is about my Favorite hockey of all time. Tom tried out and made the High School team (Riverview Gardens). By his senior year he was assistant captain and was awarded The Leagues "Most Sportmanlike Trophy" (hard too believe but true). Well after high school hockey for most it would be coming to an end, Not for Tom. Next Junior B. He played for the Florissant Leafs this only inspired him more. Then Tom had this idea that he wasn't done playing hockey and wanted more Tom was pretty good by now but he still wasn't satisfied. He got a job at Winterland and Mr. Lake the owner pretty much did the unthinkable. He gave Tom keys to the rink. He could skate anytime he wanted too. And boy he did 3 to 4 hours a day religiously. Then Tom set his sights on a target most American players would not even think of. He wanted to play in Canada. I believe it was Mr. Lake that pulled some strings and got Tom a tryout with the Brockville Ontario Braves. After only skating 3 years he made the team. Now he was living the Dream. Halfway through the season times for my mother and myself weren't very good. Tom made the ultimate sacrifice. He came home to help take care of us. End of story. Not quite. He heard of a semi-pro team in Springfield, IL. While working in St. Louis and driving to and from Springfield once again The Dream was on. His accomplishments in Springfield were second to none. League MVP, All Star. Always in the league top ten. In scoring 2 time Walmar Cup Champion, Captain. He was a born leader. I have been around this great game that we all love for a long time. But I have NEVER seen a player that was bestowed the honor of Captain that really knew what it meant besides him. If fisticuffs were called for. He would take care of that (Tom 5 ft. 9 in 185). He would always take on the biggest and toughest on the other team. By the way he didn't lose very often. If a game went into overtime that is when he would shine the brightest. He would ALWAYS score the winning goal. He made the impossible believable. He protected his teammates and always lead the charge. I really don't think he ever understood the term "quit" He was a Captain's Captain. Tom Wards induction into The St. Louis Hockey Hall of Fame is where he belongs. Just imagine if he would have had the opportunity most kids have today that they for granted. Just think if he had learned to play when he was 5 or 6 instead of 16. One can only imagine. I think this induction would be happening in Toronto.