Keeping a lifetime love of hockey alive

  • Thomas Warren of Dublin plays senior league hockey. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Friday, November 24, 2017 10:8AM

It was 20 years ago that Thomas Warren got the call.

After years of coaching youth hockey in Massachusetts, the 76-year-old Dublin resident was called by a member of a senior hockey group in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, who was in need of an experienced hockey player to fill in for an injured player. Without hesitation, Warren accepted.

“I hadn’t played in a long time so I was rusty. I collided with a teammates and broke my nose,” said Warren with a laugh, during an interview Tuesday. “There was blood everywhere. I remember going up to the refreshment stand and asking for a Coke. The guy replied ‘you need a lot more than a Coke!’”

Despite sustaining an injury in his return to the ice, Warren’s passion for playing hockey reignited, as he has been playing in pick up games and senior clubs ever since. Warren currently plays two or three times a week in Keene and Gardner, Massachusetts. 

“Hockey is an art form and a great sport,” said Warren, a compensation consultant by trade. “I enjoy being able to go out there and have fun and seeing the same people year after year.”

Warren, a native of Wellesley, Massachusetts, said his love of hockey was sparked in the fourth or fifth grade when he began spending a lot of time during the winter on Rockridge Pond, where he would learn the ropes of the sports with the other neighborhood children. 

“My mother was from Indiana – she knew about basketball – and my father was from the south, so neither of them knew about hockey,” said Warren. “The pond was five houses away. I would go there after school and play until quarter of six. The town had a whistle that would go off, the signal that it was time to go home for dinner.”

Warren would go on to play at his local junior high school, Belmont Hill School, and Harvard – where he played on the club team after his freshman year – but would hang up his skates after graduation. 

It wouldn’t be until the mid-1980s that Warren would lace his skates back up, this time as a youth coach in Massachusetts. 

Warren also fell in love with coaching – he still does it to this day, traveling 80 miles to assist with a club team in the Dover-Sherborn area of Massachusetts – due to his love of teaching youth how to play and perfect their craft, both on the ice and in the classroom.

While teaching the value of sportsmanship and how to play hockey has always been important to Warren, he has also valued helping his players get into private schools and colleges and universities with good academic and hockey programs. 

“I know that you were always in my corner and I deeply appreciate that,” wrote Graham Morrell, a former player of Warren’s in a letter dated Sept. 3, 1997. “Belmont Hill helped me to mature in my studies to the point that I am excited about not just trying to survive, but to excel at Harvard.”

Warren was also involved in a $2 million fundraising effort for the Eugene Kinasewich Fund, which helped to bring Ukrainian high school students and hockey players to the United States. 

Warren said that his approach to playing hockey has altered slightly as he gets older, as he is focused on not only having fun, but remaining injury free. 

“I’m going to keep going as long as it feels good and I’m not injured,” said Warren. “I saw a guy play at 91. I don’t think I’ll be playing that long.”.