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Tom Preissing

Tom Preissing is finishing his rookie year in the NHL as a defenseman for the San Jose Sharks.  He was signed to the Sharks as an undrafted free agent in April 2003. Tom is now living the dream he talked about as a seven-year-old boy.   Tom was rarely considered the "star" on any of his hockey teams.  His story is more an example of what hard work, quiet determination, love of the game and talent can achieve. 

Tom was born in Arlington Heights, IL.  His family moved to Eagan, MN when he was in first grade.  Tom was introduced to hockey by kids in the neighborhood and quickly turned it into a life-long passion.  He started youth hockey in the Eagan Athletic Association with Bob DiCasmirro and John Tuset as his coaches.  After moving to Michigan for his third grade year, Tom's family was transferred back to MN, where he played squirt through bantam hockey with the Rosemount Area Hockey Association.  Some of Tom's favorite youth hockey memories are from teams that were headed by long-time RAHA coach, Tom Murphy.  It wasn't just organized hockey Tom enjoyed.  From the time he was young, Tom and many of the friends he grew up with could often be found on an outdoor rink playing pick-up hockey. 

During his time in youth hockey, Tom was asked to play on the Minnesota Blades, the Little North Stars and the Minnesota Selects.  His first of many trips to the Minnesota Select Festival was as a member of the South '78 team that was coached by Jack Pagel.  Many member of the South Selects team are currently pro hockey players.

When Tom was a freshman in high school, he earned a spot on Rosemount High School's varsity team.  He played his high school career for RHS on teams coached by Frank Senta, Steve Hurt and Ty Eigner and was team captain for his last two years.

From high school, Tom went on to play two years of junior hockey in the USHL for the Green Bay Gamblers.  It was with the Gamblers that Tom's development as a hockey player accelerated.  In his first season on the Gamblers, injuries and penalties caused the team to be short of defensemen.  When the team's coach, Mark Osiecki asked if any forwards would be willing to move to the blueline position, Tom volunteered. Tom's natural strengths in hockey and hard work caused this move to be such a good fit, that he was named the USHL's Defenseman of the Year during his second season in 1999.  That same year, Tom earned a spot on the USHL All-Star Team that played in Norway and the US National Team in Lake Placid. 

After his years in Green Bay, Tom accepted a scholarship to play hockey at Colorado College of the Western College Hockey Association.  He continued to develop his skills for the Tigers as a defensemen and a team leader over the next four years under the watchful eyes of Scott Owens, Norm Bazin, Joe Bonnett, Terry Kleisinger and Richard Quincy. Tom excelled on and off the ice at CC.  He had a 3.54 grade point average when he graduated from CC with a degree in economics in May 2003.  Tom was captain for the Tigers during his junior and senior years.  He was named to All-WCHA teams as a sophomore and junior.  The summer after his junior year, Tom earned a place on the 2002 WCHA All-Star team that was set to tour Europe over the summer.  Unfortunately the tour was cancelled due to security concerns.

Tom's senior year brought him many honors.  He is in Colorado College's history book as the first CC defenseman to ever score 20 or more goals.  Tom broke a 23-year-old WCHA record for most goals scored by a defenseman (with 23 - 17 of them on the power play); and was named a First Team All-American.  Rather unexpectedly, Tom found himself one of the top 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award (which was won by teammate Peter Sejna).  He was honored as the WCHA's Student Athlete of the Year, and was named to the NCAA's Academic All-American Team.

Tom's outstanding senior season was capped off in April 2003 by signing an NHL contract with the San Jose Sharks.  Expecting to play the year on San Jose's minor league team in Cleveland, Ohio, Tom was surprised to find that he made a place for himself on the Sharks team right out of rookie camp.  After getting over initial fears of starting opposing Paul Kariya, Temmu Selanne and Joe Sakic in his third exhibition game, Tom has settled into playing professional hockey and living in California.   He is currently playing regular shifts and is on the penalty kill.  Tom recorded his first NHL point against none other than the Minnesota Wild and his first goal against the Chicago Blackhawks!

In youth hockey, Tom learned that trying your best and having fun when playing hockey was the way to go.  "I had some great coaches growing up in Rosemount, in Green Bay and at Colorado College.  They helped me get where I am today," Tom said.  Tom added, “Playing in the Minnesota Selects Tournament was lots of fun. I always looked forward to seeing the friends and teammates I made in previous years. It was great to play against the best players in the state of Minnesota. Plus, the 78 South Selects only lost two games in five years!”   Dedication, hard work, love of the game and ability to use his natural talent has helped Tom accomplish his goal of playing professional hockey. (2004)