Players’ Category ~ Class of 2019
Born in Oak Park, Illinois, as the youngest of three children to Chris and Berna Stapleton, Tim’s passion for playing hockey was evident from the first time he put on skates at just three years old. Every winter, Tim’s father built ice rinks in their backyard where Tim played incessantly. Off the ice, Tim idolized the Detroit Redwings, faithfully following the career of his idol, Steve Yzerman.
At four years old, Tim joined the youth hockey team The Oak Park Eagles. He continued his young hockey career in Oak Park, playing at Fenwick High School for the Friars. After two seasons with the Friars, Tim aspired to play at the AAA Hockey level. During tryouts, Tim’s talents were recognized by Chicago Chill Head Coach Larry Pedrie, effectively placing Tim on the team for two years. After his brief tenure with the Chicago Chill, Tim was drafted by the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League (USHL). There he played two years and was endowed a full scholarship to the University of Minnesota-Duluth. At Duluth, Tim lead the team in scoring as a freshman. He played all four years at University of Minnesota-Duluth before turning pro.
Professionally, Tim has enjoyed many successes. A brief term with the Portland Pirates led him to Finland where he secured a one-year position on the Jokerit of the Finnish SM-liiga. There, he won a silver medal and finished second in playoff scoring.
In June 2008, Tim joined the Toronto Maple Leafs for a season before being assigned to the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League later that year. In February 2009, Tim played his first NHL game with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The following year, Tim was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers before joining the 2009-2010 Chicago Wolves affiliate. Because the Thrashers moved to Canada to become the Winnipeg Jets, Tim scored the last-ever goal for the Thrashers on April 10, 2011 before they moved.
His career lead him to play on the Kontinental Hockey League in several European cities. He played for the Dinamo Minsk, Ak Bars Kazan, Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk, Metallurg Magnitogorsk. In 2015, Tim left the KHL and joined the Swiss Club EHC Biel. He joined the Karlstad-based Sweidsh Club Färjestad BK of the Swedish Hockey League. He later accepted a position with HC Spartak Moscow. In 2017, Tim played for the EHC Olten of the Swiss League before closing his career with the German club, ERC Ingolstadt of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga in 2018.
Today, Tim is a proud family man, happily married to Marissa Stapleton whom he met in 2011. They traveled extensively together in Europe while Tim played professional hockey. Their two children, Boomer (4) and Sienna (2), were born in Chicago and Switzerland respectively. Currently, Tim is co-owner with good friend Jim Mullins of Boikey’s Biltong, a South African beef jerky company. When he’s not with his family, Tim enjoys his newest passion – golf.
Tim’s induction means so much to him because it gives him the opportunity to remember all the wonderful highlights of his hockey career, reigniting the passion from when he was three years old. Tim thanks AHAI, his family, and his friends for this incredible recognition and for honoring him tonight.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.