The Ramblings of a Somewhat Unstable Mind

The Years I Did Lines With Tom Cruise

Hockey Daze

Tom Cruise, is the player wearing the yellow jersey - I am the one to his left (the right looking at the foto) with the A taped onto my jersey.

This picture must be from the 1973-74 season in Beacon Hill, Ottawa’s East End. (either that or one year before or after).  Tom Cruise (original name Maythorpe or something close to it – come on, give me a break! It’s been a long time!).

My father had put together a box for each of the four children in my family while he was dying. Each box contained what he considered to be great memories for him or us. In the box for me was this picture, the team I was playing for when I became a good checker, taking the best player in the league out for the season with a hip check.

It was while playing for this team that my father told me that he was extremely proud of me, for the one and only time in my life (even 3 college diplomas didn’t garner an “I’m proud of you, son” from him; no. it took an act of violence to achieve that lofty goal (my dad was an RCAF Hercules pilot)

Of course, at the time nobody knew that Tom was going to grow up to be a famous movie star, most likely earning a few hundred times what the combined wealth of all of the other players on the team amounts to in a single year!

It was on this team that I was the designated hitter (my first year on defense) and took out the league leader in points on the opposing team (he scored an average of over 5 goals per game prior to our match up). He was a big, fat (yes, i did just say “fat”) and slow skater – everyone was afraid of him for some reason, yet he couldn’t even lay a decent check! He was coming down the ice with the puck, i lined him up and gave him a perfect “Bobby Orr” type hip check. He did a complete flip in the air, came down hard on the ice and lost his wind, and didn’t play in our league again that season (his father was his team’s coach).

Tom was generally on my line, his father was one of the coaches (thus the yellow jersey –  known as a “no hit” color for practices), and he joined in the melee that ensued after the fat kid was taken off of the ice on a stretcher.

I remember all of this clearly not because Tom Cruise was on my line, but because of the situation that followed. My coach (Tom’s father) wanted me to stay off of the ice for the rest of the game (the hit happened in the 2nd period, with us down by 3 – we ended up winning the game by 5 – without the fat kid, who played over 2/3rds of the game, their team was pretty much useless, and they went from 1st overall to not even making the playoffs. Our team went from last to 2nd overall after that game, and we made it to the semi-finals.

My father came down to the bench to see why I wasn’t going back on the ice with my line-mates.  After the coach told him that he didn’t want to put me back out there to protect me from probable retaliation, my dad got rather mad (as an RCAF pilot, he had a certain, well, commanding nature about him at the time that most men deferred to) and insisted that I be played, that I had made a perfectly legal and picture-perfect hip check and shouldn’t be penalized by my own team. After a few minutes of not-so-nice banter, my dad won out and I rejoined the team – there were no fights, no retaliation of any kind – the opposing team pretty much left me alone, avoiding me instead of attacking me.

But, it is nice to know that back then, that small boy with the near-perfect hair (oh, just look at the picture!) who would grow up (well, a couple of inches, anyways) to be the face of the “Mission Impossible” franchise, a TV show that I was watching during those years, had my back.

(this is a true story)

Comments on: "The Years I Did Lines With Tom Cruise" (25)

  1. Awesome! I laughed when I read your description of Tom as a kid, a fat boy who can’t do a decent check on the ice! Who knew who he would grow up to be?! I would love if he came across this article and remembered you. How great would that be to get a mention from him. Thanks MB for documenting the experience, you skater you 🙂

    • No, no – Tom was a skinny little guy – the fat kid was the guy i checked out of the league… but, thanks for the visit (maybe read it again?)

      • MB, Sorry about that. I read about Tom and then next paragraph read “the league leader”. You might want to clarify they are two different people… or it could just be me~ Regardless still neat that you had time with someone pre-celebrity status.

    • David Gagnon said:

      Its not him, check the real story in the comments section from Prechopper

  2. Interesting story! Particularly about your father. Sounds like mine, although he was not military. Was Tom younger than you or just not that tall? Is he standing beside his father? What kind of person was he?

    • Thanks for the visit, Patti!

      we were basically the same age, but he was a rather “fragile” player (yes, him!). He was always a nice guy, willing to jump in to help his friends and line mates. I don’t think his dad is in the picture, he was a sub-coach

  3. Funny story. I probably would have taken you out of the game as well. However, it would not be because of fear of retaliation but because taking out the big/fat kid probably gave the rest of your team a lot of added moral :-). So I would let you “rest” (though players prefer not to) until the next match. Curious… What did the A on your jersey stand for??

  4. In this photo, it looked like Tom Cruse was already ordained into having something BIG or would The Become Famous one day among the rest of the boys in the photo… Because he was the only one wearing the yellow jersey.
    And look at him now, hehehhe, He is one of my favorite Hollywood actors 🙂
    Thanks for sharing this.. 🙂

    • Thanks for the visit, Dolly! (just a guess!)

      He was wearing the yellow jersey because we couldn’t hit him in practices – he had big health issues. He was a really good kid, though – not a partier, very shy – also had Kim Mitchel and Bryan Adams in our class at school (Beacon Hill, eastern Ottawa suburb – Cornell By High School) or in our party group.

      • Wow Bryan Adams? I love all of his songs! Lovely, you had these people with you during your High School…Everyone of us couldn’t forget our High School Days…Those were the days we were all naive and just being ourselves, still playing, having no worries of the future and have not known yet what would we become one day…. This is great!
        I’m so happy you have shared this with us 🙂 Thanks, thanks, thanks 🙂

        • The east end of Ottawa nurtured some quite famous actors, singers and athletes! 4 Olympic Gold Medalists from the 60’s and 70’s alone… Kim Mitchel (from Max Webster), Bryan Adams, Elizabeth Manley… long list

    • David Gagnon said:

      Thats not Tom, Check the comments from Prechopper for a better understanding of Tom’s formative years.

  5. Julie Catherine said:

    Thomas Cruise Mapother IV (I googled his real name, hehehe) … that’s pretty cool to know you ‘knew him when’ – and Bryan Adams, too – love them both! Also neat to read about your father’s gift box to you …. I’ll bet that even if he didn’t say the words, he really was proud of you, and unfortunately, wasn’t very expressive. And I also think that you turned out just fine! 🙂

  6. You put the lime in the imagery and drink the article up.

  7. It’s imperative that more people make this exact point.

  8. said:

    Just do me a favor and keep writing such trenchant analyses, OK?

  9. The kid in the yellow jersey has dirty blond hair & Tom had jet black. Tom didn’t smile because of his right front tooth was very crooked & it doesn’t really look like him. The true to life legend has more to do with The 69 Perchopper Kid, who is the same age as Tom & play dated his older sister Lee. It all has to do with the long forgotten Queensway Drive-In Theater, that was made famous in Bryan Adams song “Summer of 69” & was just up Shefford Rd. from young Tom all during those same years when it was the edge of the city. The song mentions both Bryan’s & Prechopper’s two encounters, first at the drive-in, then on a neighbours porch which is still there. Tom was very unsettled & self conscious partly because of his dyslexia back in those days. Tom found escape when he saw a movie at that very drive-in & decided to become an actor. Tom, Bryan & Prechopper were a buncha base brats, Born Raised And Transferred Someplace with violent alcoholic military fathers screwing around about to disappear for the rest of their formative years .Toms father was somthing like a low level electronics intelligence officer & its interesting to see him in the Mission Impossible franchise at the top of the box office.

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