Before Christmas Helsinki Roosters received a sad message of former player Tom Tucker passing away after a struggle with cancer. Tom’s former fellow player and long time friend Thomas Östman remembers him with warmth and says Tom fought his illness with the same determination than he played football.
– Tomppa was a great guy who, with his unyieldingness, was an example on the field and outside the field. He fought against cancer with the same attitude. Eventually Tomppa’s forces ended, but with certainty it can be said that cancer has never experienced a tougher opponent.
Born July 15th 1974 in Putnam, New York he started to play football in Ticonderoga Senior High School. After high school he played in Hartwick College, New York, before back surgery ended his playing. He joined the US Marines 1994 and during his service in Marines one of his stations was US Embassy in Helsinki, Finland. As many times in early days of Finnish American football Tom Tucker was also recruited to play American football here. After his service in US Marines ended he was employed by a private security contractor and after training, he chose Finland as his next location and was able to continue playing football here.
Tom Tucker played in Maple League seasons 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2005 for Helsinki Roosters, being part of three Championship and one bronze medal teams. Tom holds the Roosters´s record of most rushing yards per game with 345 yards made in 2004 and at the same year he was named Import Player of the Year by Finnish American Football Association. Tom was also a passionate body builder and while competing against cancer was elected in top three in Men’s Health Ultimate Guy 2016 competition by Men’s Health Magazine.
During his playing and working years in Finland he got many long time friends. One of them, former team mate Marko Vartiainen remembers him in sorrow.
– Tomppa was like my own brother, my son’s godfather and a friend. He saw the world on nearly every continent, excluding Antarctica. Before the cancer diagnosis Tomppa was spending Christmas with us, but nothing showed outside. The hardest fighter I have ever met. He resumed the bodybuilding after having checked the cancer and took part in the competitions. The longing is hard and it was hard to go see him in Brussels in September to say hello and encourage him in his battle. A lot of people miss him, but he lives forever in our memories.
Tom Tucker slept away December 18th in the consoling company of his family. Helsinki Roosters express our condolences. Rest in peace Tom!