Tommy Cross Announces RetirementAug 4, 2023
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Springfield Thunderbirds defenseman and captain Tommy Cross today announced his retirement from hockey following a 12-year professional playing career with the following statement to the Thunderbirds and their fans:
“I would like to take the chance to thank the fans for an incredible four seasons as part of the Springfield Thunderbirds. It was an honor to play hockey in Western Massachusetts in a city with such a proud tradition and rich hockey history. The enthusiasm and energy of the fans during the 2022 Calder Cup playoff run will be something that I will always remember.
The entire Thunderbirds organization has been graciously kind and generous to my family, and for that, we are very thankful and appreciative. Thank you to the staff, coaches, front office, and all of my teammates for making Springfield such a special place to play.”
-Tommy Cross, #4
A native of Simsbury, Conn., the 33-year-old blueliner enjoyed success at all levels in his hockey career. Recruited to Boston College following a prolific high school career at Simsbury High and Westminster Prep, Cross helped lead the Eagles to two national championships in 2010 and 2012, where he served as BC’s captain in his senior season.
"We are grateful for Tommy Cross's unwavering dedication and immense impact on the Springfield Thunderbirds organization," said Thunderbirds President Nathan Costa. "Tommy has been a true inspiration both inside and outside of the rink, embodying the values of consistency and mentorship, which have made him an irreplaceable asset to our team. His exemplary conduct and genuine pride in wearing our city's jersey have made him not just a valuable player, but a cherished champion for our community. Tommy's crucial role in leading us to the 2022 Eastern Conference title will forever hold a special place in our hearts. We extend our heartfelt appreciation and wish him and his family the very best in the future."
Drafted by the Boston Bruins in the second round of the 2007 NHL Draft, Cross turned pro in 2012 and became a fixture with the Providence Bruins, where he still holds the franchise’s all-time record for games played with 380 and points by a defenseman with 142.
Cross made his NHL debut on Oct. 14, 2015 in Denver against the Avalanche and, three nights later, recorded his first NHL point against the Coyotes. The next season, Cross skated in his first Stanley Cup playoff game, recording an assist in Game 3 of the Bruins’ opening-round series against the Ottawa Senators.
A fearless competitor and a heavily respected teammate and leader, Cross served as a captain or alternate in each of his final seven full AHL seasons with Providence (captained from 2015-18), the Cleveland Monsters (alternate captain in 2018-19), and the Thunderbirds (alternate captain in 2019-20, captain from 2021-23).
"In this business, we are always looking for mentors and leaders who are quality people on and off the ice, and Tommy Cross is all of those things," said Thunderbirds General Manager Kevin Maxwell. "Tommy had such a positive and influential effect on our younger players, one that will be felt for years to come. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors."
In total, Cross skated in 588 regular season AHL games, including 135 as a member of the Thunderbirds. He tallied 230 points on 56 goals and 174 assists. The rugged defenseman had a penchant for clutch moments, as five of his 15 career Thunderbirds goals were game-winning tallies, including all three of his career overtime winners during the 2021-22 season.
"Tommy has been an integral part of the Blues affiliate transitioning to Springfield to start the 2021-22 season," said Thunderbirds head coach Drew Bannister. "His leadership on and off the ice with his teammates, and his commitment to the fans and organization in Springfield will be missed. It has been a pleasure of mine and all our staff to have Tommy as our Captain and leader for the past two seasons. I want to personally thank Tommy and wish him and his family all the best in his retirement from the game of hockey."
Cross and his teams were a benchmark of consistency throughout his pro career. With the exception of the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons when the Calder Cup Playoffs were not contested and the Cup was not awarded, Cross’s AHL team made the postseason in each and every season he played. In 70 career AHL playoff games, Cross produced 33 points (9g, 24a), 90 penalty minutes, and a plus-6 rating. During the Thunderbirds’ run to the 2022 Eastern Conference championship, Cross posted 11 points in 18 postseason games, including a personal five-game point streak to open the playoffs.
About the Springfield Thunderbirds: Entering their seventh season of play, the Springfield Thunderbirds are the proud American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate of the St. Louis Blues. The team prides itself on its core mission of being a pillar of Springfield and the Pioneer Valley, one that is committed to fostering a strong sense of community through its passionate support of local initiatives and charitable causes.