Thomas (Tommy) Phillips was born in Kenora, Ontario on May 22, 1880. For those who could recall the game of hockey as it was played in the early 1900s, it was generally agreed that Tommy Phillips was one of the greatest hockey players they had ever seen. His incredible speed, bullet-like shot and outstanding stick handling and back checking, all contributed to his effectiveness on the ice.
Tommy played hockey as a school boy in Kenora before going east to attend McGill University. While in the east, he continued to play hockey, first with McGill and then with the Montreal AAA in their successful Stanley Cup challenge against the Winnipeg Victorias in February of 1903, where he scored the Cup-winning goal. Later that year he moved to Toronto to attend school and joined the Marlboros line-up helping them to win the Ontario Hockey Association Senior Championship.
By 1904 Tommy had returned to Kenora where he became Captain of the Kenora Thistles, who made two strong challenges for the Stanley Cup. Kenora was successful in their bid for the Cup in 1907, and it was Tommy's outstanding abilities as a leading scorer which led them to that victory.
Following the Stanley Cup victory, Tommy was signed by the Ottawa Hockey Club as one of the highest paid players in the game at that time. His scoring abilities again shone through notching 26 goals in 10 games. The following season he headed west playing briefly for Edmonton in their 1908 Stanley Cup challenge before suffering a broken ankle.
From there it was on to British Columbia where he joined the Vancouver Millionaires of the Pacific Coast Hockey League for their inaugural 1911-12 season, retiring from the game after that season to continue on with a career in the lumber industry.
Tommy Phillips' outstanding abilities as a hockey player and his overall contributions to the early history of the game were recognized by his inclusion in the first slate of individuals to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1945.
Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 26, 1987