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The Hockey Hall Of Fame

KOMET FLASHBACK ... Len Thomson The Most Outstanding Center in the History of the IHL

by Bob Chase

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In 1956-57 the IHL yearbook listed Len Thomson's statistics as 14 goals, 19 assists and 33 total points in 56 games ... a very misleading entry, as history would reveal.

In the next 12 seasons Len Thornson would average better than 34 goals, 65 assists, 99 points and 63 games per year, to become one of the most outstanding skaters to ever wear the uniform of the Fort Wayne Komets.

In 7 of his 12 Komet seasons he broke the 100 point barrier. His top output is a Komet record of 46 goals and 93 assists for 139 points, in 1966-67, a record that has since been tied. The assist mark still stands.

Len Thomson was presented the James Gatschene Memorial Trophy as the IHL MVP no less than 7 times in 13 seasons, and in one stretch was selected four consecutive seasons for the honor.

Old number 11 twice won the league scoring title, in 1963 and 1966. He appeared in more playoff games than any other player in IHL history. He ranks second in career goals scored over his 13 year career, and is far and away the all-time assist leader and overall point leader. Len finished in the top ten in league scoring ten of this 13 seasons, and was selected to ten IHL all-star teams.

An amazing statistic is that he averaged less than 8 penalty minutes per year during 13 regular seasons and just over one minute per year for 96 playoff games spanning 11 seasons.

The figures alone speak the skills of Len Thomson, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. He was a player who was totally respected by everyone he played with or against. Len's ability to take a pounding and give it back with his own jarring body checks gave him the room he needed to cast a magic spell on opposing defenses and enemy goaltenders during his entire career. Known as "The Old Redhead", he was the dominant player of his era in the IHL at a time some of the most talented players in minor hockey played for the various teams in the league. Since Len's untimely retirement due to a serious eye injury at the start of the 1968 season, he has been active with the Komet Oldtimers.

Following his hockey career, Len Thomson has become an outstandingly successful insurance executive, and as the "red" is turning to silver he and his lovely wife Margaret are completely involved in ranching, having a spacious horse farm north of the city of Fort Wayne where their string of beautiful Arabians continues to grow. As "THE" player of his era and as a true gentleman and a friend - Len Thomson has no peer.