December 01, 2012
Tommy Smith, a Hockey Hall of Famer like his brother Alf, was one of hockey's early greats. He was a hired gun, going anywhere and everywhere exchanging his goal scoring ability and Stanley Cup pedigree for cash.
Ottawa. Pittsburgh. Moncton. Brantford. Galt. Toronto. Montreal. And most notably Quebec City, where he dominated the National Hockey Association for four seasons and won the Stanley Cup in 1913.
Goal scoring hero Joe Malone is the best known member of those Quebec Bulldogs teams, though a case could definitely be made that it was Tommy Smith who was their best player. The biggest difference? The younger Malone continued his exploits when the NHA morphed into the National Hockey League in 1917. Tommy Smith would only play 10 games in the NHL, picking up just one assist.
Disregard his late career season in the NHL. He was a scoring sensation everywhere he went in his prime. Just look at his NHA career scoring totals. He ranks 4th all time in that long defunct league with 143 goals in just 95 games. Only Joe Malone (179 in 124), Newsy Lalonde (163 in 108) and Didier Pitre (156 in 127) out rank Smith.
He was also an incredibly durable player, though typhoid fever did it's best to knock him out of the 1909-10 season.
Unlike his brother Alf, Tommy was not known as for his rough and tumble play. But make no mistake, if he decided to let some of his frustrations out, the poor opponent knew it.
Interestingly, early resources make note of Tommy's great faceoff ability - not exactly one of the most championed of traits back then.
Piecing together this long forgotten legend of hockey was a fun task. Clearly he deserved to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. He was an all-around hockey player and certainly amongst the best of his day.