1999: The year the Toronto Maple Leafs came calling…

RMC Officer-Cadet (I Year) Scores spot at Maple Leafs’ Hockey Camp

Caption: Left – Chris MacDonald, prospect developer, Toronto Maple Leaf; Officer-Cadet Tom Connerty; Andy Scott, RMC hockey coach.

1999: The year the Toronto Maple Leafs came calling…

By: WJO

Back in the summer of 1999, 22409 Officer Cadet Tom Connerty who had just completed his first year at RMC was invited to the Toronto Maple Leafs ‘prospects camp’.

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The Caledon, ON native first appeared on the hockey ‘radar’ after a stellar 1994/95 season with the Richmond Hill Kings (OMHA Midget) when he was drafted by the Barrie Colts.

The 6’ 1’’ goalie passed on the Barrie option and played at the Jr “A” Tier II level for both Wexford Raiders and the Aurora Eagles (Metro Junior Hockey League).

His play in the MJHL earned him a scholarship with Ohio State University, in the Central Collegiate Hockey Assn. – Division 1.

As proficient as he was as a goalie he was even a better scholar.

Consequently, Tom had a big decision to make. Would it be hockey or should he pursue academic endeavours?

The decision was a tough one; he returned home, the following school-year enrolled in Grade 13 (OAC)  and took a full-course load. Most of his OAC marks were 95% plus!

Following OAC, he applied and was accepted to Royal Military College of Canada. He seamlessly adapted to life at the college.

He quickly made his presence felt on the ice. However, he made an even bigger impact in the classroom and in the Cadet Wing. Countless numbers of his peers mentioned to me on numerous occasions that if it were not for ‘Tom’ they would not have passed certain courses or even had passed their first year.

It was well known within his circle of friends that he was always available to help out less gifted students. He carried out this ‘unofficial tutoring role’ during his four years as a cadet – often with the cost of cutting into his own ‘study’ time.

Now back to the Toronto Maple Leaf prospect camp.

Most hockey fans will recognize the name, Ken Dryden, who was the General Manager at the time, Connerty, received the invitation.

From all reports, Dryden was impressed and had plans to follow-up with Tom to discuss professional hockey options.

Two weeks following the Prospect Camp, Dryden was replaced as GM of the Leafs by Pat Quinn.

Connerty never heard back from the Leafs ever again.

Note:

Major Tom Connerty is now a much admired Assistant Professor with the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at RMCC.

He is also a part-time goalie coach for the hockey Paladins.

When not attending to his duties at the college he is a pretty busy, husband, dad and gentleman farmer in the area.