Thomas Laird Paton (1854 – February 10, 1909), was a Canadian Amateur Ice Hockey player of the early era of the sport.
Paton played the position of Goaltender for the Montreal HC (Montreal AAA) and was a member of the first Stanley Cup Winning Team in 1893.
Paton would be a founding member of the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association Hockey team (Montreal HC).
Paton began goaltending at age 30 and had a successful nine-year career (six years with the lowest goals against average in all of organized Hockey)
Paton was a pioneer goaltender in organized Hockey. Tom's Hockey career can be traced back to the early Montreal Winter Carnivals, where he backstopped his Montreal Hockey Club (Montreal AAA) to their 1st championship in 1885, posting three shutouts in four games, including one in the final. He again won the carnival championship two years later.
Paton would play goal at the 1st International Hockey game, at the Burlington Winter Carnival in Vermont - February 26, 1886. His Montreal Hockey Club (Montreal AAA) would defeat the Montreal Crystals, and the host team, the Van Ness House to win the carnival championship.
Paton's career would be marked by dominance. Throughout every season he played between 1888 and 1893 for the Montreal Hockey Club (Montreal AAA), his team would win the AHAC championship.
Paton is most notable to be the first goaltender in Stanley Cup history to be awarded the trophy. Ultimate Hockey considers his performance in 1888, 1889, 1890, 1891, 1892 and 1893 to be worthy of winning the equivalent to the Vezina trophy that the NHL awards today for top goaltender - He was regarded in many history texts as being undefeated in 1890 and 1891
In 1892 despite a poor regular season effort Paton and the Montreal AAA defeated the Ottawa HC in the final game of the season to win the 1892 AHAC season championship by a score of 1 to 0.
Paton would be go on to be awarded the Stanley Cup in 1893, and retire at the end of the 1893 AHAC season. He is also the first goalie to retire from Stanley Cup Hockey competition as a current champion.
Paton would introduce the game of Hockey to Toronto in late winter of 1887. During a trip to Toronto to visit his friend Hart Massey, Paton learned that no one had heard of the Hockey games that were being played in Montreal, Ottawa and Kingston. Paton and Massey then sent a cable to Montreal, and ordered a box of 18 sticks, a puck and a set of rules to be sent from Montreal, and then organized some demonstration games with 10 local Torontonians at the Granite Curling Club.
Throughout all his pioneering efforts and success in early Hockey, Tom Paton is not a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame