The Kitmart Dundee Stars and Dundee Ice Hockey community are shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of ice hockey stalwart, Tom Stewart at the age of 82.

Tom Stewart started his hockey career as one of the original members of the Dundee Rockets, playing out of the old Kingsway Rink in the late 60s and the early 70s.

During this period Tom was running a successful scaffolding business and would later became owner of the Dundee Rockets.

With his drive and backing, he took the Rockets back to compete in the top level of ice hockey in the UK, at the start of 1981-82 season.

Tom Stewart was instrumental in re-introducing imports (non-UK trained players) to the modern game in that first season, the new ruling allowed three imports to be on each team.

The first three imports to sign for the Dundee Rockets, were graduates from Concordia Stingers, which is the same Canadian University programme that Anthony Beauregard graduated from most recently.

Those three players Roy Halpin, Chris Brinster and Kevin O’Neill formed the back bone of a squad boosted by fantastic local talent, that went on to dominate UK ice hockey for the next four seasons, winning three Grand Slam titles in the process. Such was Tom’s passion for the sport, he also helped to coach the Rockets at that time.

One of the main reasons for the success during that time, was the signing of French- Canadian player – Roy Halpin, who went on to re-write the scoring records in UK ice hockey.

Roy and Tam had remained close friends and Roy has made the trip back to Dundee from Montreal on many occasions, since having to retire from playing, due to injury.

In season 1983-84, Tom Stewart’s vision to become the first UK team to play in a European competition was realised, when Rockets played Danish Champions Rodovre SIK and French Champions CS Megeve.

These games paved the way for the present top UK teams, who still compete in Europe today in the CHL and Continental Cup.

Tom Stewart firmly put Dundee on the ice hockey map across Europe and the world, causing a sensation in the sport of ice hockey, when he signed former NHL “Iron Man” Gary Unger to the Dundee Rockets in season 85-86.

Owning and coaching the Dundee Rockets was his biggest desire. But, Tom also had a great desire to grow the sport of ice hockey in Dundee. Tom had an ever presence in the old Kingsway rink, encouraging the younger players to improve and helped to coach the Dundee Royals Ladies Team.

Latterly, Tom was still participating in the sport he loved during “Old Timers” hockey sessions on Friday afternoons at Dundee Ice Arena, until the pandemic curtailed their sessions.

Mike Ward co-owner of Kitmart Dundee Stars commented:

“I am deeply shocked and saddened to hear of Toms passing. He was a team mate, coach and great friend to me.”

“He built the foundations of ice hockey in this city and his influence in the game is still felt today. My heart- felt thoughts are with Marianne and Michelle, and all their family at this sad time.”

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