JS: First off, is it “Tom” or “Tommy?”
TM: When I played junior everybody always called me Tommy. Then, in Phoenix, most of the guys used to tease me because they said it sounded like I was about 5 years old. I usually leave it up to whoever’s saying my name. If I get in trouble it’s Thomas Allen by my mom. Tom or Tommy, it doesn’t really bother me.
JS: Right now you have more goals (3) than fights (2). When was the last time you were able to say that?
TM: (Chuckling) Probably before I could fight. I don’t know what’s going on, but it’s fun. It’s fun to be able to score and be a physical presence out there. I think a lot of people look at me as just a fighter, or a power forward. It’s nice to show people I can play hockey, too.
JS: One of the goals you scored this season was a last-second score in a 5-3 loss to Florida a couple of weeks back. Have you ever done that before?
TM: You know, actually, when I was in pee wee we were playing in the state championship game against a team in Seattle. We were tied 3-3 in the third…and with like, 10 seconds left, I scored. That was probably the closest to a last-second goal I’ve ever had. That was pretty cool.
JS: Would you say that that was your most memorable goal?
TM: I would say my first WHL goal; that was a pretty big deal for me. I scored it on Cam Ward from the Carolina Hurricanes. It was my first game and we were losing 5-1 to Red Deer, who was a really strong team. Our coach put me out there, a rebound came right out to me and I just buried it. It was awesome, scoring your first goal in your first game. You couldn’t really ask for much more. It’s funny, my first year there I scored three goals all together and two of them were on Cam Ward.
JS: You played nine games down here last year, as well as another nine up in Hershey before your season came to an abrupt end. What happened?
TM: Well, I actually broke my wrist the year before, in Phoenix, and I got surgery in Phoenix in May of ’07. I had rehabbed and stuff in Phoenix, and towards the end of the summer I was supposed to go back and get cleared by the doctors that did the surgery and make sure everything was fine and then go to Washington for camp. I went to the doctor, and he’s like “your wrist is still broken.” Bone grafts had washed away after the surgery in the two months that I had been rehabbing and I didn’t know it. You can go ahead and get the surgery done again or you can try to play on it and see how long it lasts. There’s still a screw in there holding everything in place, but he’s like “it might not last forever.” It was painful up in Hershey, and I went up to the trainer and asked for an x-ray. I went and got one, and the doctor came back to the arena in Hershey and just said “I’m sorry, but this is not a very good idea to play with it like this.” The screw was coming out of the bone, and half the bone was dead. It just wasn’t very smart for me to keep playing with it.
JS: When did you first take on the enforcer role?
TM: It was probably my first year in Medicine Hat. I was 16 and I wasn’t playing a whole lot, but that’s pretty normal for a 16-year-old kid in junior. I was one of the faster guys on the team, and I figured if I could be physical that would give me more than one dimension and I could get in the lineup more. I fought a couple of times and I did really well. And then I fought tougher guys and just kind of kept climbing the ladder until that was one of my main roles.
JS: Do you think your skating ability comes in handy during a fight, in terms of helping with your balance?
TM: I think it has a little to do with it, but I think you can either be a technical fighter or you can just kind of be emotional. That kind of tends to be the way I fight. I lose my balance a lot because I get so fired up and try to throw as many punches as I can. I’m all over the map.
JS: Do you ever research other teams’ fighters?
TM: Yeah, definitely. I think goal scorers look to see who the leading scorers are on the other team, and sometimes you YouTube guys and see their videos and stuff, and you kind of want to see how they’re doing and how they fight. But when it gets right down to it, everybody knows everyone else’s role, for the most part, on other teams. You try to do a little bit of homework, but it shouldn’t take over your gameplan.
JS: Do you have any mutual agreements with players you wouldn’t fight?
TM: I’ve never had that. A lot of guys have friends that play on the other team…but once I get out on the ice I turn into a whole different person. I’ve heard that from quite a few guys.
JS: Is there anyone you’d say you tried to mold your game after?
TM: For just toughness and talent ability, I would say Peter Forsberg. I don’t play a whole lot like him, but I’ve just always admired how strong he is on the puck. He’s one of the best passers to ever play the game, and he just makes it look so easy out there. He’s tough to take off the puck, he’s tenacious – I just love the way he plays.
Don’t miss any of the fast-paced, hard-hitting action of the 2008-09 season; purchase your ticket package today! For more information, including benefits, pricing, and package options, call the Stingrays at 744-2248 or view the information online at www.stingrayshockey.com.
Stingrays Hockey – A Whole Lot Cooler!