Worcester Sharks General Manager
San Jose Sharks Vice President and Assistant General Manager
Wayne Thomas recently completed his ninth season as assistant general manager and his fifth as vice president, providing Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson with an experienced, versatile and valuable assistant.
Thomas supervises the relationship between the organization and its player development teams. In that role, he serves as the general manager of the American Hockey League’s Worcester Sharks (the Sharks top development affiliate) and works with other development organizations, including the ECHL’s Fresno Falcons and the Toledo Storm.
During the past eight seasons (1997-05), many free agent acquisitions engineered by Thomas have meshed with Sharks prospects to play prominent roles throughout the development system.
Under Thomas’ supervision, the organization has produces a number of key player on the Sharks current roster acquired mainly through the NHL Entry Draft, including Evgeni Nabakov, Scott Hannan, Jonathan Cheechoo, Alexander Korolyuk, Vesa Toskala, Jim Fahey, Rob Davison, Niko Dimitrakos, and Mark Smith.
Thomas, 57, is well versed in all aspects of the National Hockey League, garnering experience from 33 years of being a player, head coach, assistant coach, and advance scout. Before his promotion in March 1996, he was in his third season as Sharks Assistant coach and assistant to the general manager.
An Ottawa, Ontario native, Thomas is intimately involved with all aspects of the Sharks on- and off-ice operations, including evaluating players on the Sharks reserve list with special emphasis on goaltenders, scouting other NHL teams and taking an active role in contract negotiations and player personnel matters.
During the 2003-04 season, Thomas took on a more advanced, day-to-day role in working with the Sharks goaltenders as Goaltending Coach Warren Strelow recovered from a kidney transplant. Working closely in tandem with Strelow, who was kept abreast of developments, the Sharks allowed a franchise-best for fewest goals against (183, t-4th, NHL). In addition Nabakov eclipsed his team mark with nine shutouts and, along with Toskala, the duo set a new franchise record with 11 team shutouts.
Thomas serves an important role as a liaison between the coaches, training staff and the hockey department, facilitates the interactions of hockey department personnel within the organization, coordinates the construction of the NHL regular season schedule, manages training camp preparation, assists the efforts of the Sharks scouting staff and coordinates a variety of front office administrative matters.
In his role as Sharks assistant coach from 1993-96, Thomas assisted with game strategy, advance scouting of opponents and performed individual work with the Sharks goaltenders. In addition, he collaborated with the general manager on a year-round basis regarding administrative matters.
Thomas joined the Sharks coaching and management staff for the 1993-94 season after spending three seasons as an assistant coach with the St. Louis Blues. Thomas also served in that capacity with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1987-88 and was head coach at Peoria (International Hockey League) from 1988-90 and at Salt Lake City from 1985-87. His 1985-86 squad captured the IHL’s Turner Cup Championship.
A former NHL goaltender, his playing career consisted of 243 games over nine seasons, including stints with Montreal, Toronto and the New York Rangers. Thomas was a member of the Canadians 1972-73 Stanley Cup Championship squad. Additional career highlights included being selected to and getting the win at the 1976 NHL All-Star Game as a member of the Maple Leafs, posting 10 career shutouts – including one in his first NHL start – and a lifetime goals-against-average of 3.34. After his retirement in 1981, Thomas spent four seasons as an assistant coach with the Rangers.
Thomas has a bachelor’s degree in physical education from the University of Wisconsin, where he played three years of hockey from 1967-70.