Bill Thoms

Bill Thoms was a quiet, underrated player whose outstanding contributions never got the credit he deserved. In parts of seven seasons in Toronto he played in the shadow of the great Joe Primeau. Then was traded to Chicago where the weak Black Hawks struggled for wins and respect.

Thoms was a great amateur with the Toronto Marlboros of the Senior OHA before turning pro with the Syracuse Stars of the IAHL.

Thoms joined the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1932-33 and the team finished first three straight years. He was the center for Hec Kilrea and Frank Finnigan, filling in on the 'Kid Line' occasionally when Joe Primeau was hurt.

Though he was noted more as a playmaker than goal scorer, Thoms and Charlie Conacher led the NHL in goals in 1935-36 with 23. That year Thoms centered a line with Buzz Boll and Finnigan, and made the second all-star team. Although he didn't have the polish of Joe Primeau, he was nevertheless an excellent two-way center and got his share of points.

He had one of his best years in 1937-38 playing with Boll and Pep Kelly, once again helping the Leafs to another first place finish. The Leafs would falter in the playoffs yet again. In the 1930s the Leafs went to the Stanley Cup finals 8 times, losing 7 of them!

Conn Smythe saw fit to make changes and traded Thoms to Chicago for Doc Romnes in 1938-39. He played five good years for the Black Hawks where he quietly continued to be one of the NHL's best two-way centers. He was said to be very adept with the poke-check and was a very good stickhandler.

He really had a good year in 1941-42 with 15 goals, 30 assists for 45 points, finishing 7th in NHL scoring. He was out of action for much of 1943-44 and then Chicago sold him to Boston during 1944-45 where he finished his career.

The native of Newmarket, Ontario played in 548 NHL games, scoring 135 goals, 206 assists and 341 points.


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