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The Merriam-Webster dictionary definition is:
Function: noun. Inflected Form(s): plural Tommies
Etymology: Thomas Atkins, name used as model in official army forms
: a British soldier

“Tommy Atkins (often just Tommy) is a term for a common soldier in the British Army that is particularly associated with World War I. German soldiers would call out to Tommy across no man's land if they wished to speak to a British soldier. French and Commonwealth troops would also call British soldiers "Tommies"” (Wikipedia)

The nick name Tommies, as associated to a sport’s team, would insinuate sacrificing for the team, fighting together against an enemy, to achieve a common goal. FIGHT ON OUR BRAVE TOMMIES!!

Tommies Early History:

The following transcription is from the book “By Force of Circumstance” A History of St. Thomas University by James A. Fraser. Published by MIRAMICHI PRESS LTD. 1970. The transcription below is from Chapter 6 entitled “Sports” and is not the full version. The information transcribed typically pertains to the hockey team or items of general interest. There is a great deal of other information on early sport’s teams at St. Thomas that has been omitted. To read this book in it’s entirety, please check with the Harriet Irving Library on campus, the Provincial Archives of NB, or the Fredericton Public Library.



Physical fitness has always been considered an important part of a good education. Today our universities, colleges, and high schools spend sizeable portions of their budgets on physical fitness and sports.

The first record of a game played by a St. Thomas team that I found took place on Thanksgiving Day, October 10, 1910. The College football team lost to the Chatham Argonauts 5 – 1. By football was meant the “Upper Canadian style of Rugby”.

The rivalry in sports between U.N.B. and St. Thomas is as old as St. Thomas itself. In 1912 the U.N.B. team beat the visiting St. Thomas College team in Fredericton in a game of “college football” 24 – 3.

By 1917 the College hockey team was already making a name for itself. That year it won the Lengil Cup for the second year. They were champions of the North Shore Hockey League. They won two games against the U.N.B. varsity team, but were defeated by St. Joseph’s College.

In Hockey [1922], teams were arranged among grades 9,10 and 11, Arts and Commercial. Professor D. Coyne donated a silver cup. The captain of the Arts team was B. O’Donnell. The hockey team made a trip to St. Joseph’s where they were defeated. The afternoon was spent in Moncton.

One of the College’s most famous hockey players was Father J. Spratt. He had been a member of St. Michael’s College team in Toronto when they won the Allen Cup which made them champions of the country. His skill is still remembered on the Miramichi.

The College team, on November 2, 1929, tied the provincial champs in a hockey game in Fredericton. This appears to have been U.N.B.. In January, 1930, the “Flashy Six” from the College defeated Loggieville 3 – 2. The team was made up of C. Duffy, center; A. Manuel, and D. Deredin, wings; B. Flam and G. Cassidy, defense; Joe Duffy, goalie. Spares were E. McCarthy and C. Coughlan. The Loggieville Black Hawks in turn defeated the College team in February by a score of 2 to 1.

Records for the year 1935-36 are fairly complete. Father Scott organized a hockey team “shortly after Christmas” (1935) which he entered in the town hockey league. They won 4, lost 3, and tied 1. “Due to mild weather it was impossible to finish the playoffs. The S.T.U. boys by their 6 – 1 triumph over the Redwings, proved beyond a doubt that they had begun to show real form, and had the ice lasted, the remaining games would have afforded the best hockey of the season.” The Chatham Juniors who were provincial champions for 1935-36 had three St. Thomas College freshmen on the team: Gene O’Leary, Paul Oleskei and “hap” MacLean.

The Aquinian reported, “Hockey seems to have ousted basketball from its long held position of the major sport of S.T.C.”

In the fall of 1936 the Miramichi Junior Basketball League was reorganized and St. Thomas entered a new team, called the “Tommies”. [Note by www.stutommies.com: It appears to be implying this was the first use of the nick name Tommies by St. Thomas. This would make 2006 the 70 year anniversary of the moniker “Tommies”.]

Although St. Thomas had played hockey against U.N.B. and other Maritime
colleges, she had never been a member of the Intercollegiate Hockey League. Father Scott made application to the Maritime Intercollegiate Athletic Union in late 1936. Other colleges felt that St. Thomas could not keep up a sufficiently strong team and other players in Chatham could get on the S.T.C. team. When they gave assurances that this would not happen, they were admitted by the M.I.A.V.

In 1938-39 the intercollegiate hockey team was defeated by U.N.B., Mount Allison and St. Dunstan’s. In exhibition games they defeated the Nelson All-stars, the Richibucto Maroons and the Moncton Junior Wheatons.

In Hockey [1947] the nine member team, was the only team to defeat St. Dunstans, who went on to win the Maritime title.

The 1948 season was a poor one with the hockey team losing 3 out of 4 games.

The first game of Canadian Football in New Brunswick was an intercollegiate game with the Tommies against U.N.B. The Tommies won with a score of 8 – 5 but were later defeated by St. Joseph’s by the same score.

In hockey [1949-50], the college team won second place in the N.B. – P.E.I Intercollegiate League. They were the only team to mar U.N.B’s winning record, tieing them 4 – 4. They also tied Sacred Heart in an exhibition game on home ice. Another exhibition game, with the Dalhousie Rangers, ended in an 8 – 8 tie.

The 1950 – 51 season saw the College hockey team capture the N.B. – P.E.I. Intercollegiate title. An exciting game took place in April in the Sinclair Rink, Newcastle. The Tommies played the New York Rangers in an exhibition game. Coach Vance Toner, together with Jack O’Neil and Sonny McWilliam, got into St. Thomas uniforms. New York won 15-10 over the College team. The Rangers got 8 of their goals in the first period. In the final period, the Rangers took the Tommies net and three of their players joined the College team. Four of the 10 St. Thomas goals were scored by New York.

On Wednesday, April 4, 1951 Mr. Michael Leggatt gave a special banquet for the hockey team at the Mic-Mac Restaurant. John Kelly was toastmaster. The guest speaker was Father Arthur J. Scott. Other speakers on that occasion were C.P. Dinan, Moderator of Athletics; Rev. T.J. McKendy; Rev. F. McGrath; Vance Toner, coach; Patrick Barry, team Captain; and Avery Keenan, manager. Mr. Leggatt also spoke.

In the 1951-52 season, the hockey team was very weak. The college was of course small and it was not easy every year to get a good team together. The Tommies did not enter the Intercollegiate league that year.

In hockey, in the Spring of 1955, the Tommies were runnersup to Mount Allison having beat out U.N.B. and St. Dunstans.

On October 12, 1955 the Lord Beaverbrook Arena [Chatham] was opened. St. Thomas now had a fine rink which could compare with any in the province.

Hockey rapidly became the most outstanding sport at the College in the late 1950’s and through the 1960’s. The 1959-60 team was a powerful one. The first line was Eddie Hospodar, Brian Jones and Bernard Keating. The second was Ray Fraser, Paul Daigle, and Peter Violette. The third line was Bernard Lunney, Hughie Wood, and Aurele Legere. Goalies were Keith Raymond and Laurie Boucher. On defense were Ron Hachey, Dave Butler, Bob Reed, Don Mahoney, Don Ross and Terry Gulliver. Vance Toner was coach and Mike McKee, manager. They defeated Mount Allison 10-7 and 5-2; also St. Dunstan’s 15-5 and 6-1. Their first game with U.N.B. was a 12-7 victory for the Tommies but the second game was lost 7-4, leaving the Tommies in second place. They were not to make the same mistake next year.

Five words and a small picture were all that appeared on the front page of the March 28, 1961 Aquinian. It told the story. “Triumphant Tommies Return Intercollegiate Champs”. On Saturday, March 11, 1961 the Tommies defeated St. F.X. in a two game total point series. The first game in Chatham was a 6-1 victory for the Tommies. The second game was at Antigonish. St. F.X. won 9-7 in a “terrifically tense game” which was tied several times. With an enrollment of only 115 students, St. Thomas defeated other teams representing 5,000 students. It was probably the finest moment in the history of sports at St. Thomas.

On April 23 the annual athletic banquet took place. Bishop Leverman and the Mayors of Chatham and Bathurst were present. Praise for the hockey team continued. Terry Gulliver was chosen athlete of the year. Willie O’Ree of the Boston Bruins was guest speaker.

The hockey team [1961-62], captained by Brian Jones, lost only one game, and that was to U.N.B. On February 2, 1962 the Tommies defeated Laval University 7-4 in a exhibition game during the Winter Carnival. The game was termed “brilliant” by the press. The victory gave St. Thomas the unofficial Canadian intercollegiate hockey title as Laval were Quebec-Ontario champions the past season.

The 1962-63 hockey season was the first in which the Tommies operated in an integrated Maritime intercollegiate league, playing regularly with Nova Scotia college teams as well as those from New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Ed Hospodar made the all-star team while Larry Wood was the highest scorer. About three quarters way through the season Vance Toner resigned as coach and Paul Lordon filled that position.

Ed Hospodar was named athlete of the year for 1963-64. The hockey team won seven games and lost four. Hospodar was voted second all-star defenceman.

The first year in Fredericton, 1964-65 saw the hockey team come in fourth in the Maritime Intercollegiate league. Pat Clancy was named athlete of the year and most valuable player on the hockey team.

In 1966 the hockey team finished in fifth place.

The first Winter Games in Canada were held in Quebec City during the Centennial Year. The Tommies were the New Brunswick representatives. Bob Mabie was coach with Barry Collrin as manager. Father W. V. White is presently Director of Athletics at St. Thomas.

Despite its small number of students St. Thomas has done well in sports. It is proof of the part “spirit” plays in a game. There has always been great spirit at the
College, and this is in no small way, has helped keep St. Thomas up there with the best of them.

“A thing lives when it grows. It has been precisely the growth of St. Thomas over the years, more valued because it came slowly and with much sacrifice, that has given this University so much of its enthusiasm.” James A. Fraser from Epilogue, Page 125.

The Green and Gold cat on the left is Tommy. He is the official mascot of the St. Thomas Tommies.

Tommy lists his favourite past times as watching volleyball, hockey, and chasing Squirrels.

Good luck Tommy, we’re all cheering for you.
Thank you to the St Thomas Student Union for providing us with a picture of Tommy.


Some of you older Tommie fans have been using the term “Squirrel” for a long time but to the newer, casual, or not from Fredericton fans, a little explaining is necessary if you see this term on the site.

The Tommies natural rival is the ever hated and pesky UNB Squirrels. The rivalry and “Battle of the Hill” have been taking place now for over 40 years. It’s not new and has been around for some time but as to the exact origins of the nickname, this is unclear.

We do know that Squirrels are rodents and by their very nature get on your nerves. UNB Squirrels tend to be arrogant, vain, and dirty. (Just ask any AUS hockey team) Tree rat comes to mind as a suitable definition but can anyone tell me what a “Varsity Red” is? Their so called “official” mascot is a “Red Fox” but in fact is just a big Red Squirrel in fox clothing.

Used as a derogatory name it is always proper to refer to UNB’s sport teams, athletes, and students as Squirrels. This will identify them with the lower life form they are and will typically negate any pathetic attempt at grandeur they may have.

Montreal has the “Habs”, Toronto has the “Buds”, and Fredericton has the “Squirrels”.

If any of you have stories about the Squirrels we would love to hear them. Contact us.

We received an e-mail from “UNB Fan Back in the Day” and he gave us this explanation for the term Squirrel “It was explained to me that the reference was in mockery of the two beavers on the UNB crest; those beavers I believe are in honour of Lord Beaverbrook but I may be mistaken.”

STU Tommies.com did an internet search of the term UNB Squirrel and found the following. We like to think that with age comes wisdom so the later explanation sounds pretty reasonable to us.


This is the _expression that dad has always used for the UNB rugby teams - we played them last Friday night - it was a very fun and entertaining game - fast paced and probably the best we've played all season - the Final Score was 51-24, but it felt alot closer and we poured it on at the end

When I asked dad why he calls them squirrels - I thought it may be that the beaver on the UNB emblem looks more like a fluffly tailed tree climber, than a dam building tree eater - he replied " no - it's because they run around on the hill all day playing with their nuts"

I laughed - it's funny stuff.”


NOT AN OFFICIAL SQUIRREL SITE BUT LOADED WITH INFO.. Not to be patronizing but it is well done.