Hello all, and welcome to another edition of Husky History. Each week this column highlights the accomplishments of a former UConn athlete and their ability to perform at the professional level.
This week’s edition focuses on Tage Thompson, the former UConn hockey star who has made a name for himself since his time with the Huskies.
Thompson, who was born on Oct. 30, 1997, was primed for success since day one as his father, Brent Thompson, was a 1989 NHL draft pick by the Los Angeles Kings. He played 121 games as a member of the Kings, Winnipeg Jets and Arizona Coyotes.
A graduate from Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Thompson excelled not only on the ice, but also in the classroom. He was honored with the National Young Leaders Award and Presidential Academic Award.
Prior to UConn, Thompson was a member of the USA Hockey National Team Development Program recording 12 goals and 14 assists in 64 games. He also was a member of the 2014 gold medal team at the Four Nations Tournament in Sweden.
Arriving in Storrs in 2015, Thompson made an immediate impact on the ice for the Huskies. Appearing in all 36 games, the forward tallied 14 goals and 18 assists while leading the nation in power play goals with 13.
Thompson made his mark in the UConn record books placing third in points, second in goals and tied for third in assists for rookie scoring. His eight multi-point games landed him tied for eighth among the rookie scoring leaders in the country.
Thompson came back for his sophomore season and produced similar numbers to the year before, with 19 goals and 13 assists in 34 games.
At the age of 20, Thompson accomplished what young hockey players aspire to do: be selected in the NHL Draft. With the 26th overall pick of the 2016 NHL Draft, the Husky was selected by the St. Louis Blues. At that time, Thompson was the highest drafted UConn hockey player in program history.
In his first season with the Blues he made 41 appearances on the season tallying nine points with three goals and six assists.
In the summer of 2018, Thompson was a part of the trade package that sent him to the Buffalo Sabres in return for three time All-Star Ryan O’Reilly. Buffalo turned out to be the right destination for the young center to fulfill his potential.
Across his first four seasons with the Sabres, Thompson appeared in 182 games totaling 94 points with 53 goals and 41 assists. All solid statistics that primed him for a breakout sixth season.
The 2022-23 NHL season saw Thompson post 94 points, 47 goals, 47 assists, 26 blocks and 7 game-winning goals, which were all career-high marks. During the season the Sabre had an impressive stretch of 25 games with 25 goals.
Thompson was selected to his first All-Star game appearance, but had to sit out due to injury. He was later replaced by teammate Rasmus Dahlin to represent the Sabres.
For his performance on the ice, Thompson finished in 14th place for the Hart Memorial Trophy, the NHL’s most valuable player award given each season.
Not only did the former Husky’s statistics pop off the sheet, but he stacked up impressively among the rest of the NHL. Thompson finished sixth among league leaders in goals scored with 47, third in power play goals with 20 and first in hat tricks with four.
Even with several prime years of playing ahead of him, Thompson has cemented himself on the franchise single season leaderboards already for the Sabres. He is tied for third in hat tricks, eighth in goals and tenth in goals created with 38.5. As seasons come and go, Thompson is on pace to appear on career leaderboards sooner than later.
The Sabres, who were founded in 1970, are one of 11 teams yet to lift the Stanley Cup. With Thompson leading, they look to capitalize on their foundation to bring the championship to Buffalo for the first time.
The team leader in points and goals, Thompson looks to continue his success in the upcoming season. The Sabres organization has full faith in the center and it was demonstrated by Thompsons’ contract awarded to him in 2022 worth $50 million for seven years.
UConn Hockey fans are excited to see what Thompson does in the upcoming NHL season and are proud to see him represent UConn Nation at the professional level.