2019 IHHF Bio Series: Tim Gabel

Tim Gabel
Builders’ Category ~ Class of 2019


Tim grew up on the southwest side of Chicago in a family of sixteen children. He developed his love for the game of hockey listening to Lloyd Pettit announce the Blackhawk hockey games on TV. At an early age he played hockey in alleys and on frozen tennis courts with his brothers. Being the smallest of his brothers, he was always put in the net, which is where he developed his goaltending skills. It was then that he knew goaltender was the position for him. Though he enjoyed playing, Tim’s true calling in the game of hockey was coaching. Tim coached his son and daughter’s ice hockey teams in their early years, and that is when he became connected to special hockey in Illinois.

While attending his son’s AHAI State Champions dinner in 2000, Tim heard a presentation from then AHAI President, Mike LeBarre, who was seeking volunteers to help start an ice hockey team with founder, Amy LaPoe, for adults and children with special needs; the Tomahawks. Tim knew he wanted to be a part of the organization and became one of the team’s first coaches. The Tomahawks, began with just a handful of skaters and coaches with a single Saturday afternoon ice slot at the Edge Ice Arena in Bensenville, but grew steadily over the years. When the team needed to accommodate the many different regions of its skaters throughout the Chicago area, Tim helped coordinate the expansion of the team to include the south side division at the Arctic Ice Arena in Orland Park, where he became one of their head coaches.

In 2015, the Tomahawks changed their name to Chicago Blackhawks Special Hockey (CBSH). Coaching with the CBSH team was always a family event, to include his son, Tim, and daughter, Lauren, who both started as junior coaches and continued with the team into their adulthood. His wife, Adrianne, also later became a manager for the team. Tim, along with his son and daughter developed the learn to skate program for all new skaters, regardless of ability.

Tim feels truly blessed to have been a part of this organization for 17 years and has received far more from the players and families than he could ever give. He would like to thank the Chicago Blackhawks for their continued support of the organization, his family, players and their families, and fellow CBSH volunteers for helping to make this a successful program. Tim is humbled to be recognized by AHAI and included with this class of inductees in the Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame.


NOTES: The IHHF Induction Dinner will be held in their honour on Sunday, January 26, 2020 at the Belvedere Banquet Hall located at 1170 West Devon Avenue in Elk Grove Village beginning at 5:00 pm. Tickets are available by contacting Norm Spiegel at (847) 269-2922 or email Norm at jacole@comcast.net.

Joining in honoring this special group of inductees will be several of the past inductees into the Hall of Fame. This year’s inductees, and all of the past inductees have demonstrated, through their actions over the years, their personal commitment in making a difference in the lives of thousands of Illinois youth and the Illinois hockey community.

The mission statement of the Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame is as follows:

“To honor the excellence of those individuals who, through their exceptional endeavors both on and off the ice, have contributed in an extraordinary way to enhance the sport and image of hockey in Illinois.”

On behalf of everyone involved in the game of hockey, we admire and thank each of the inductees into the Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2019. They truly are in a class of their own.



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