PHATS / SPHEM

Honouring the contribution and dedicated years of service of the National Hockey League Athletic Trainers and Equipment Managers to the game of hockey.

In 1969 professional hockey athletic trainers began meeting informally to exchange ideas on business matters, medical knowledge and common problems that take place in their unique work environment. By 1973, both the NHL and NHLPA had officially recognized the Professional Hockey Athletic Trainers Association. Over the next 20 years, the organization continued to expand its ranks to include both athletic trainers and equipment managers from the NHL, AHL, IHL, ECHL and CHL. In 1996, members voted to divide the organization into two equal societies which would continue to strive to meet common goals, as well as focus on the specific needs of athletic trainers and equipment managers. Currently, the Professional Hockey Athletic Trainers Society (PHATS) and the Society of Professional Hockey Equipment Managers (SPHEM) boast over 240 members, who represent more than 100 professional teams in eight leagues from across North America.

One of the many objectives of the PHATS/SPHEM Annual Meetings is to increase awareness of members' dedication and professionalism. During the annual Hall of Fame Dinner, one member of PHATS/SPHEM is honoured by their peers for their contribution and service by being inducted into the PHATS/SPHEM Wall of Honour, located adjacent to the Honda NHL Zone.

PHATS - Induction Requirements

  • Ten years service in the NHL as Head Trainer or Equipment Manager
  • Twenty years total service in professional hockey
  • Member of PHATS
  • Service to the community
  • Personal accomplishments
  • Past or present Board Member of PHATS
  • Contributions to hockey

The collective goal of making the game of hockey as safe as possible for the players has enabled PHATS and SPHEM to develop a variety of worthwhile programs that have made a positive impact both inside and outside the sport of hockey. Some of these noteworthy contributions include:

  • Lending their knowledge and expertise to NHL initiatives and committees
  • Educating their counterparts in hockey's minor leagues through annual educational symposiums
  • Granting scholarships to equipment management and athletic training students
  • Supporting and advancing their national affiliate associations

Members of PHATS, who have compiled NHL injury statistics with team physicians for several years, have helped raise the issue of minimizing injuries. This momentum has played a role in the formation in 2000 of a new NHL committee aimed at reducing and preventing injuries to the players.

Throughout the 2000-01 season the NHL Injury Analysis Committee developed recommendations on possible ways to reduce injuries either by altering the players' equipment, the game's style of play or the rules of the game.

In recognition of members of the Professional Hockey Athletic Trainers Society (PHATS) and the Society of Professional Hockey Equipment Managers (SPHEM) who have been honoured for their contribution and service. Selected solely by PHATS & SPHEM.

Year Recipient Team(s)
1995 Ross ‘Lefty’ Wilson
Athletic Trainer
Detroit Red Wings
1996 Dan ‘Grinder’ Canney
Athletic Trainer
Boston Bruins
1996 Dan ‘Olie’ Olesevich
Equipment Manager
Detroit Red Wings
1997 Norm Mackie
Athletic Trainer
Los Angeles Kings, Atlanta Flames, Philadelphia Flyers, St. Louis Blues
1998 Eddy Palchak
Equipment Manager
Montreal Canadiens
1999 Larry Ashley
Athletic Trainer
Quebec Nordiques, Vancouver Canucks
2000 Lou Varga
Equipment Manager
Chicago Blackhawks
2001 Skip Thayer
Athletic Trainer
Chicago Blackhawks, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning
2002 Rene Lacasse
Equipment Manager
Quebec Nordiques
2003 Tom ‘Woody’ Woodcock
Athletic Trainer
St. Louis Blues, Harford Whalers, San Jose Sharks
2004 Ken Fleger
Equipment Manager
Vancouver Canucks, New Jersey Devils, Boston Bruins
2006 Jim Pickard
Equipment Manager
Oakland Seals, New York Islanders, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning
2006 Ron Waske
Athletic Trainer
New York Islanders
2007 Pete Demers
Athletic Trainer
Los Angeles Kings
2008 Dave Smith
Equipment Manager
Dallas Stars
2009 Jim ‘Bearcat’ Murray
Athletic Trainer
Calgary Flames
2010 Mark Brennan
Equipment Manager
Detroit Red Wings
2011 Gaetan Lefebvre
Athletic Trainer
Montreal Canadiens
2012 Barrie Stafford
Equipment Manager
Edmonton Oilers
2013 David Suprenant
Athletic Trainer
Dallas Stars, Minnesota North Stars
2014 Bobby Stewart
Equipment Manager
Calgary Flames, Atlanta Thrashers
2015 Stan Wong
Athletic Trainer
USA Hockey, Washington Capitals, Florida Panthers
2016 Mark O’Neil
Equipment Manager
Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings
2018 Robert ‘Rip’ Simonick
Equipment Manager
Buffalo Sabres
2019 Ken Lowe
Athletic Trainer
Edmonton Oilers
2022 Peter Millar
Athletic Trainer and Equipment Manager
Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings