In 1934 Tom Cook Won A Stanley Cup…And A Baseball Title With Blenheim
Tom Cook was an NHL champion. To hoist the Stanley Cup, which Cook did with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1934, is the penultimate athletic achievement.
He played 348 NHL games, and spent over a decade in the pros.
Born in Fort William, Ontario in 1907, Tommy Cook, like many NHLers from his era is not a household name.
In Blenheim, Ontario however, stories still float about of Tom Cook. The talented hockey player summered in Blenheim, spending the hot summer months on the baseball diamonds of Blenheim.
In 1934, Tommy Cook took over as manager of Blenheim’s Intermediate ‘A’ Baseball team, leading them to a league championship the same year he hoisted the Stanley Cup.
That same year, the NHL star welcomed a son into the world, born at Chatham General Hospital. Cook was married to Hester Mitchell, whose mother, D.M. Mitchell lived in Blenheim.
Prior to Cook’s tenure in Blenheim, the town’s baseball hopes were lowly. With Cook at the helm, the tides turned for Blenheim. In his first season as manager in 1934, Blenheim eliminated Ridgetown and West Lorne to win the Kent League title.
The team would eventually fall to the Windsor Walkersides in the OBAA Intermediate ‘A’ championships.
Following that season, Blenheim honoured Cook with a banquet at the Lakeview Hotel in Erieau prior to his return to Chicago. Throughout the season, Cook would stop into Blenheim, as his wife Hester remained in the town with their children.
“As manager of the ball team this year, I have enjoyed my job very much,” Cook said at the banquet in Erieau.
In 1935, Cook didn’t simply manage the Blenheim Hydro team, he stepped onto the field playing shortstop for the club, a position he grew up playing in Fort William.
His time on the field however was short lived, as the Ontario Amateur Athletic Association took notice of the professional hockey player, and threatened to classify any softballer who played with or against Cook a “professional.” This would also be true for several of Cook’s softball teammates who were also OHA hockey players. With that in mind, Cook had to again step off the field, and serve only as manager.
The town however, defended their idol, as former Mayor William Henry spoke out saying, “Just because he is a pro hockey player it is no reason why he should not play amateur baseball.”
But Cook, stepped aside to protect his teammates.
Cook was often visited by other members of the Blackhawks, including Louis Trudel, a two-time Stanley Cup champion, who attended a 1935 banquet at the Lakeview Hotel in Erieau alongside Cook.
In 1936, Cook turned down the position of manager with the Blenheim ball team, although he remained interested in the club, and an integral part of the community.
Cook would play 8 seasons for the Chicago Blackhawks until 1937.
He finished his NHL career playing a single season for the Montreal Maroons in 1937-38 before retiring from the game.
Cook passed away at the young age of 54 in 1961.
By Ian Kennedy