The Rhode Island Hockey Hall of Fame recently named East Providence’s Tom Army as the recipient of the 2023 Malcolm Greene Chace Memorial Trophy recognizing “Achievement & Outstanding …
The Rhode Island Hockey Hall of Fame recently named East Providence’s Tom Army as the recipient of the 2023 Malcolm Greene Chace Memorial Trophy recognizing “Achievement & Outstanding Service by a Rhode Islander to the Game of Hockey."
The award is named after the Central Falls native and Hall of Fame tennis player, financier and textile industrialist who in the Winter of 1894-95 brought us ice hockey from Canada and is widely considered the “father” of the game in the United States.
Army was born in 1930, the son of George Army, the legendary Hall of Fame trainer of the Rhode Island Reds. He was raised a slapshot away from the Rhode Island Auditorium where he developed his hockey IQ and sharpened his exceptional talents as a player.
Army attended LaSalle Academy, later transferring Hope High School. In 1951, he began his freshman year at Providence College, where he collaborated with a number of classmates to create a club hockey team. Under the guidance of the Rev. Herman Schneider, they entered the club in the new Rhode Island Amateur Hockey Association.
At season’s end, Army led the circuit in scoring. The following season, after a 25-year absence, varsity Friars hockey was reborn with Army voted co-captain.
In 1969, when the Dudley Richards Memorial Rink opened in Army’s hometown of East Providence, he became a founder of the East Providence Hockey Association, coordinating its various programs and becoming the driving force behind the famous Fram International Hockey Tournaments and coaching numerous championship teams.
After the 1972 Summit Series, he took his coaching to a new level, adding the Soviet principles of puck possession and cycling to his coaching handbook. His hockey camps were among the first to blend those elements with the teaching of traditional skills and off-ice conditioning…and the first to include girls with boys at some of his camps. As a result, the EPHA would become the prolific feeder program for the great East Providence High School teams of the 1970’s.
His sons — Tom, Jr., Billy, and Tim — and his grandsons — Travis and Derek — have all followed in Tom’s skates as leaders, talented players and highly successful coaches.
Army would continue his hockey journey with the Providence Bruins. He served for 28 years as their official scorer and supervisor of off-ice officials, retiring in 2021.
For this and so much more he has meant to this great game, the Rhode Island Hockey Hall of Fame honors Tom Army with the Malcolm Greene Chace Trophy for his lifetime of invaluable contributions to Rhode Island hockey.
The award, generously donated by the Chace family, will be presented by family members during the Hall of Fame’s annual Enshrinement Celebration & Dinner on Saturday, Aug. 19, at Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxet in Cranston. The 2023 class of five Rhode Island hockey greats will also be formally inducted that evening. Tickets for the event are available now at RIHHOF.com.
For further information, please contact Vincent F Cimini, RIHHOF Chairman by phone at 401-824-4645 or via email at info@RIHHOF.com.