Defenceman Tommy Lauder was an outstanding Scots-born player in the professional Scottish National League of the 1940s and 1950s. A skilful skater, who read the play well, at times he also coached the predominantly Canadian-staffed teams.
Before World War Two Lauder spent his teenage years in Lachine, Quebec playing junior hockey. When he returned to Scotland, he joined the Canadians who had remained in Scotland during the war and they occasionally competed against Canadian armed services teams.
This experience honed his hockey skills so that he was proficient enough to sign for the professional Paisley Pirates in the first peacetime season, 1946-47. For the early games he also coached the squad while scoring 27 points (13 goals) and helping the team to win the Scottish Cup.
Over his next three seasons with the Pirates, Tommy enjoyed his most productive campaign in 1948-49 with 71 points (24 goals) in 61 games, and was part of their Scottish Autumn Cup winning side in 1947-48 and a second Scottish Cup in 1949-50.
For five years from 1950-51 to 1954-55, he turned out for Perth Panthers, lifting his third Scottish Cup in 1953-54.
The weekly Ice Hockey World described him as ‘a heady defenceman who is the best Scottish-born player ever produced’. Standing only five feet, six inches and weighing 156 lbs, he was steady and dependable, and enjoyed a reputation as a gentlemanly competitor. His 36 minutes in 1947-48 were the most he accumulated in one term.
Despite this he was not selected for Great Britain in the 1948 Winter Olympics. As he had turned 30 by then, he was probably considered too old.
Almost all the Scottish teams pulled out of pro hockey in 1955 and as he was 37 by then, he hung up his skates and coached the Panthers in the Scottish Amateur League for the winter of 1955-56.
Statistics for his first season are incomplete, but between 1947-48 and 1954-55 he recorded 337 points (101 goals) in 475 games in the Scottish National League, with a meagre 112 penalty minutes.
Thomas Lauder was born on 7 January 1918 in Johnstone, Renfrewshire, Scotland. He is presumed to have returned to Canada after 1956 but no record of his whereabouts has been traced. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1951.