Wayne Thomas (ice hockey)
Robert Wayne "Twinky" Thomas (born October 9, 1947 in Ottawa, Ontario) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey goaltender who played in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, and New York Rangers.
Robert Wayne Thomas born October 9, 1947, in Ottawa, Ontario, is a former professional ice hockey goaltender who played in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, and New York Rangers. After 45 consecutive years in professional hockey as a player, coach, and team executive, Thomas retired from the NHL in July, 2015.
Prior to his professional career, he played his last amateur hockey for the University of Wisconsin under the late Bob Johnson. There he played two years of varsity hockey, culminating in the team's first appearance in the Frozen Four in Lake Placid, NY in 1970. He left Wisconsin to play professionally after his Junior year of college.
Thomas played parts of 3 years in the Montreal Canadiens' minor league system, winning the American Hockey League championship trophy, The Calder Cup, in 1972 with the Nova Scotia Voyageurs. The following year, he played 6 games for the Voyageurs before playing his first NHL game with the Canadiens when he recorded a shutout against the Vancouver Canucks. He recorded an 8-1 regular season record, but did not play during the playoffs as the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup.
After 3 seasons in Montreal he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in June 1975 for a first round draft pick. During his two years in Toronto he was selected to play in the 1976 All Star game and recorded the win. Following his 2 years in Toronto he concluded his playing career with the New York Rangers in 1981.
Coaching and Management career
After retiring as a player, he was hired by New York Rangers GM Craig Patrick and Head Coach Herb Brooks as one of the first goaltending coaches in professional hockey. Brooks changed his role to assistant coach with emphasis on goaltending in the beginning of the 1982 season. He remained in that position with the Rangers until the end of the 84-85 season.
Thomas then became the head coach of the International League Salt Lake Golden Eagles in 1985 where he spent two seasons. In his second year in Salt Lake City, the Golden Eagles won the IHL Turner Cup Championship and Thomas was awarded the Commissioner's Trophy as the IHL Coach of the Year.
In 1986, he returned to the NHL as assistant coach of the Chicago Blackhawks for one season. The following season, he was hired by the St. Louis Blues as their minor league head coach of the IHL Peoria Rivermen. In 1991, the Blues brought him to St. Louis as an assistant coach to Head Coach Brian Sutter. His area of concentration was goaltending.
In 1993, Thomas left the Blues to become Assistant to the General Manager and Assistant Coach with the San Jose Sharks. He remained in that role until being named Assistant General Manager during the 1995-1996 season. He was named Vice President of the Sharks in 2001. He remained Vice President and Assistant General Manager until his retirement in 2015.
Thomas has a Bachelor's of Science degree in Physical Education from the University of Wisconsin. Wayne and his wife, Barb, have 2 daughters, Gretchen Thomas Kane(Tim) and Abra Thomas Larson (Hans) and 3 grandchildren, Erik Larson, Elsje Larson, and Harrison Kane.
Awards and honors
|All-WCHA Second Team||1969–70|