Former young Peoria hockey player signs $50 million extension

PEORIA — Tagus Thompson completed a journey from throwing checks as a kid at the Owens Center to cashing in a whopping as an NHL superstar this week.

The Peoria Youth Hockey Association product signed a seven-year, $50 million contract extension with the bison saberswell deserved after his 38-goal season last year.

The 6-foot-7, 220-pound center played four years in Peoria’s youth hockey program at the Owens Center, with little brother Tyce Thompson by his side, from 2005-06 to 2008-09.

They were in Peoria while their father, a former NHL player Brent Thompsonserved as an assistant coach for the Peoria Rivermen during this time, while the team was the top farm of the St. Louis Blues in the American Hockey League.

After:First NHL goal for Tage Thompson completes journey that included time in Peoria youth hockey

Brent Thompson became head coach of AHL Bridgeport, while his sons both reached the NHL. The Blues made Tage Thompson their first choice in 2016.

Tyce Thompson has played nine games with New Jersey in call-ups over the past two seasons.

“My love for the game, my NHL dream really started in Peoria,” Tage Thompson said in a 2017 Journal Star article after becoming Peoria’s first amateur product to reach the NHL and score his first goal. . “That’s where everything seemed to fall into place for me.”

The Thompson brothers were fixtures at Owens Center, where they performed on the PYHA program, and at Carver Arena, where they were around their dad and the Rivermen. Often they ran through the tunnels under the Carver Arena stand and skated on the ice after Rivermen games until their father begged them to put everything away.

Buffalo Sabers right winger Tage Thompson, left, celebrates his goal with defenseman Rasmus Dahlin (26) during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Nashville Predators on Friday, 1 April 2022, in Buffalo, NY (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

“The most active hockey I’ve been in my life was during those years in Peoria,” Tage Thompson said in 2017. It seemed like we were in one of those two places all the time.”

A Legacy of the Peoria Pirates

Indianapolis Colts defensive lineman Eric Johnson II.

Eric Johnson was a dominant defensive lineman for the Peoria Pirates when they operated as a championship team twice and reached title games four times in their 10 years of League play. indoor football and af2 under coach Bruce Cowdrey.

Johnson has one son, Eric Johnson II. On Tuesday, he significantly extended his father’s footballing legacy, earning a spot on the Indianapolis Colts’ final 53-man roster as the NFL cutback deadline approached.

Born in Normal, the 6-foot-4, 300-pound defensive lineman was a fifth-round pick by the Colts in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Dave Eminian is the Journal Star’s sports columnist and covers men’s basketball for Bradley, the Rivermen and the Chiefs. He writes the sports column Cleve In The Eve for He can be reached at 686-3206 or Follow him on Twitter @icetimecleve.

Catherine J. Martinez