Tiny Thompson kept his pads in a cardboard box when they weren’t strapped to his legs, and they were the very same pads he wore for almost all of his long and distinguished career, starting in 1924 in Duluth, where he suited up for the USAHA Hornets before taking his talents to Minneapolis and the AHA Millers. Thompson, who died this same week in 1981 at the age of 77, joined the Boston Bruins in 1928, playing parts of 12 seasons there before retiring as a Detroit Red Wing in 1940 at the age of 35.
Cecil was the name he was given when he was born, in Sandon, B.C. He’d grown to 5’10” by the time he was playing in Boston’s nets, wherein he won a Stanley Cup in 1929 as well as, four times, the Vézina Trophy. Thompson had stopped 100,000 pucks by the time he boxed up his pads for good; that was his calculation. “Never make a move,” he advised, “until the man with the puck has made his. There is no place for guesswork in goaltending.”
(Image © Arthur Griffin. Courtesy of the Griffin Museum of Photography. Photograph may not be reproduced in any form per the copyright holder. All rights reserved.)