Esso Hockey since 1936Legends Of Hockey
Esso Hockey since 1936
Gorman, Tommy

Gorman, Tommy

Thomas Patrick Gorman committed his life to improving and enjoying sports, especially hockey. While serving as a player, coach, executive, owner and journalist his enthusiasm knew no bounds.

The Ottawa native was particularly adept at lacrosse in his youth. In 1908 he led the Canadian lacrosse team to the gold medal at the London Olympics. As a student he demonstrated a proficiency in writing and an interest in journalism. He worked one year as a pageboy in the House of Commons and was a favourite of Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier. Gorman worked in the sports department of the Ottawa Citizen and eventually became section editor. A well-rounded reporter, he was sent by the paper to cover the historic Halifax harbour explosion in 1916.

Gorman became involved in the operation of a hockey club for the first time when his family purchased the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey Association (NHA) during World War I. Ottawa hockey fans owed the Gormans a debt of gratitude for stepping in since the original owners were going to dissolve the team. Losing a franchise at this time would have severely damaged the fortunes of the league as well.

Gorman gradually took over most of the responsibilities with the Ottawa franchise and was one of the founding members of the National Hockey League in 1917. Most significantly, he was the club's manager where he was a strong motivator and astute judge of talent and character. He was personally responsible for Lionel Hitchman, Alex Connell, and King Clancy joining the team. Under Gorman the Senators became the NHL's first dynasty with three Stanley Cups in four years between 1920 and 1923.

Following the last Stanley Cup, Gorman sold his interest in the club to a group of Ottawa entrepreneurs led by Thomas Ahearn. Gorman returned briefly to the league in 1925 when he purchased the Hamilton Tigers and transferred the franchise to New York where they were known as the Americans.

Gorman left the NHL a second time to focus on his love of horseracing but returned as coach of the Chicago Black Hawks in 1932-33 as a mid-season replacement for Emil Iverson. The next year he added the responsibilities of general manager and helped guide the Hawks to their first Stanley Cup championship in 1934. He left the Windy City for Montreal prior to 1934-35 season to serve as coach and general manager of the Maroons where he earned his fifth Stanley Cup title. Never a quitter, Gorman stuck with the Maroons while they struggled through the Depression and eventually folded in 1938.

Gorman returned to Montreal as general manager of the sagging Canadiens in 1940-41. He and coach Dick Irvin Sr. revitalized the club's fortunes and won the Stanley Cup in 1944 and 1946. Gorman stepped down after the second Cup in Montreal to coach amateur hockey and promote other sports. He purchased the senior Ottawa Senators and led them to the Allan Cup in 1949, managed a successful North American tour by figure skater Barbara Ann Scott in 1950 and helped bring the Ottawa Giants Triple A baseball franchise to the Nation's Capital.

Gorman was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1963.

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