Drew Thomas was one of my roller hockey friends down at Avenue F back in the 1970’s. A real sweet kid with a wicked sense of humor and more intelligence than all of us put together, yes Drew was a real smart kid and we all knew it.
Now Drew was real “cool” too, with long brown hair and good looks, Drew was our own “Peter Frampton” and certainly had a “Rock Star” look even while wearing his light blue Penguins jersey. Drew was also the captain of his team, which really meant a lot in our world of “Avenue F” roller hockey. Being the captain of your team certainly propelled you to a much higher level in the eyes of the players and everyone else.
I was on the senior Northstars and was probably three or four years older than Drew, so we never got to play together in league games. But once the “real” games were over many of us hung around afterwards to play “choose up” games, which always-included Drew Thomas. In fact for me most of the fun I had at Avenue F was probably during those choose-up games, because most of the time we were laughing and having a good time with each other, rather than trying to kill one another.
Now most of us never played organized ice hockey, but at times we would rent the ice at Skyrink on 33rd street at these weird times like 3am. And Drew was always part of our late night trips into the “Big City”. Sitting in the back seat of my 73 Buick Century looking like a “Rock Star” on his way to Madison Square Garden rather than a hockey rink on the West side of Manhattan, there was Drew Thomas. Always a smile and never a bad word out of his mouth. Yes, Drew Thomas was one of those people that you always wanted to hang out with. Be it on the hockey rink or at Cosmos diner afterwards, we all liked it when Drew was with us.
I remember seeing Drew in the lobby of my building at 9 West 57th street once back in 1987 or 1988. We had a nice conversation and then went our separate ways, that was the last time in my life I ever saw Drew.
I don’t remember who told me about Drew passing away. But when I heard it I was in total shock, and I thought about all the times we played hockey together and those late nights at Cosmos Diner after renting Skyrink.
Yes, hearing about Drew Thomas sent shockwaves through our little world of roller hockey and through us as well.
I just wanted to let Glenn Thomas, Drew’s brother, know that Drew was a very big part of our “roller hockey youth”. The kind of person you will always remember and never forget. Always feeling fortunate that you knew him once.
And from me, who lost a brother a long time ago as well. All I can say is; you never forget your brother, never.