Jun 7, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — Longtime Carolina Hurricanes equipment manager Wally Tatomir officially retired Thursday after 17 seasons with the franchise and more than 30 years in the equipment business.
Tatomir became a full-time equipment manager in the NHL in 1994, when he joined the Hartford Whalers and followed the franchise as they moved to Carolina.
“I would like to congratulate my friend Wally on a great career, as he steps away after many good years in hockey,” said Hurricanes President and General Manager Jim Rutherford. “Wally was a major contributor to our organization’s success and he will be missed. We’re happy that after years as an apprentice and assistant with the equipment staff, Jorge will join us full time.”
Rutherford announced that assistant equipment manager Jorge Alves has been promoted to replace Tatomir on the equipment staff.
With the Hurricanes franchise, Tatomir was a part of three Southeast Division championship teams, two Eastern Conference championship teams and captured the Stanley Cup championship in 2006. He also served as equipment manager for the Eastern Conference at the 2004 NHL All-Star Game in Minnesota, and for Team Staal at the 2011 NHL All-Star Game in Raleigh.
Prior to joining the franchise, Tatomir served as an equipment consultant for the Los Angeles Kings and the Detroit Red Wings. He also spent many years working in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) with the Windsor Spitfires and Detroit Junior Red Wings, and served as equipment manager for Canada’s national junior team at the 1987 World Junior Championships.
A Leamington, Ont., native, Tatomir became known as one of the most innovative equipment managers in the league, holding four patents on equipment used in the field, including two pieces that help precisely sharpen skates: the quick square and dial indicator for angle of deviation of skate blades. Tatomir also helped develop and patent a skate blade finishing tool, which removes all skate burrs on blade edges, leaving skate blade edges clean and smooth for better mobility. In 1998, Tatomir invented “Eze-Out,” an extraction method for removing broken blades from aluminum, graphite and composite stick shafts. In 2005, he designed and filed for a patent on a machine that precisely balances skates, and formed a company called Pro Skate Balance.
Alves, 33, has served as assistant equipment manager for the Hurricanes for the past seven seasons. He attended North Carolina State University from 2002-04 after serving in the United States Marine Corps for four years from 1997-2001. While as NCSU, Alves was the starting goaltender for the Wolfpack’s club hockey team. After graduation, he served professional stints in the ECHL with South Carolina, Greenville, Charlotte and Pensacola, and in the SPHL with Asheville. Alves filled in as a practice goalie for the Hurricanes throughout his time as assistant equipment manager.