Looking back on a goaltending great

It only took Thomas McCollum 132 games with the Guelph Storm to be remembered as one of the greatest netminders in franchise history. 

Steph Coratti, —

There’s something to be said about a goaltending great.

Choosing to stand in the crease, more often than not, leads to a remembered scapegoat – it’s the universal secret of the position, after all.

But former Guelph Storm netminder Thomas McCollum left behind a different story.

Already named as one of the Storm’s all-time Top 20 players heading into the 2010-11 season, McCollum earned the honour again – this time, with the Storm celebrating 25 years, remembered as the second best goaltender the Royal City has ever seen.

A rookie for the 2006-07 campaign, the Sanborn, New York native appeared in 55 games, compiling a 26-18-3-7 record with five shutouts. Adding to that, McCollum also amassed for a 2.39 goals-against-average and a .918 save percentage – more than impressive numbers for a first-year netminder.

Those numbers, rightfully so, saw McCollum named to the 2007 OHL All-Rookie Team along with recognition as a Third-Team All Star.

Consistency developed for McCollum, posting an improved 2.50 goals-against-average and a .914 save percentage through 51 games the following season as a sophomore, while recording a 25-17-3-3 record with four more shutouts packed onto the resume.

Moving into the postseason, the Storm fell in the second round, but not for lack of effort from the six-foot-two, 208-pound goaltender who posted an incredible 1.91 goals-against-average and an almost impeccable .937 save percentage through 10 games.

With the display, McCollum was nominated for the OHL Goaltender of the Year, which would later be received by the Belleville Bulls’ Mike Murphy.

McCollum would be noticed, however, as the 2008 NHL Entry Draft saw the Storm goaltender selected in the first round, 30th overall by the Detroit Red Wings after being ranked as the first North American goaltender by NHL Central Scouting. 

Returning to major junior for one more season in 2008-09, McCollum wore crimson for only 31 games before being traded to the Brampton Battalion following a solid display backing the United States at the 2009 World Junior Championships. For Guelph, McCollum had a 17-10-4 record with a 2.23 goals-against-average and a .926 save percentage.

Moving to backstop the Battalion, McCollum became the starter for the contending squad, posting a 17-6-0 record with a 1.94 goals-against-average and a .929 save percentage.

In the 2009 playoffs, the Battalion fell to the Windsor Spitfires in the OHL Finals, as McCollum concluded the run with a 13-8 record and a 2.90 goals-against-average and a .898 save percentage. 

Looking at the three-year OHL tenure on a grand scale, the former Storm netminder has numbers that are rivaled by few, concluding with an 85-51-8-12 record with 16 career shutouts, a 2.33 goals-against-average, and a .920 save percentage.

As the story often goes, goaltenders are usually remembered. 

Thomas McCollum just made sure he was remembered as one of the greats. 

Thomas McCollum

  • Guelph Storm, 2006-2009
  • OHL Totals: 160 games played, 85-51-8-12 record, 16 shutouts, 2.33 GAA, .920 SV%
  • Playoffs: 35 games played, 18-13-4-0 record, two shutouts, 2.78 GAA, .908 SV%
  • 2007 OHL All-Rookie Team
  • 2007 OHL Third-Team All-Star
  • Nominated for 2008 OHL Goaltender of the Year 
  • 2008 Guelph Storm Academic Player of the Year 
  • 2009 OHL Second-Team All-Star
  • Named second all-time goalie in Guelph Storm history
  • Selected in the first round (30th overall) by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft
  • Seven professional seasons (active)
  • 2013 Calder Cup Champion (Grand Rapids Griffins)
  • Grand Rapids Griffins’ nominee for 2013-14 AHL Man of the Year for work in the community
  • NHL Totals: Three games played, 1-0-0-0 record, .879 SV%, 2.98 GAA
  • NHL Team(s): Detroit Red Wings
  • Represented the United States twice; 2006 Under-18 tournament (one game played), 2009 World Junior Championship (five games played, 3-2-0 record, one shutout, 2.83 GAA)
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