Tommie Speel came to Nijmegen in 1990. As a 19 year-old rookie, the Leiden-native and former Heerenveen-player, joined Nijmegen when the club was in a low. Since the arrival of Speel, together with line mate Kruger, the club began their most successful period in Dutch icehockey. Tommie Speel (nicknamed “the doctor” because of the fact that he studied medicine at the University of Nijmegen during his career) was a playmaker center skilled with technical abilities and a “soft hands” passing game. He was always able to connect with his wingers.
Speel said he picked up a lot of skills from his youth coach at Heerenveen Jan Janssen, a Dutch Canadian player who went to the Olympics. Speel was a player who had the ability to find his fellow teammates on the ice with his eyes closed.
During his stay at Nijmegen he collected 5 championships and 2 League Cups. Furthermore he tallied for 276 goals and made 376 assists for a total of 652 points. Also has he been named Most Valuable Player in the Dutch League.
Speel played 12 years for Nijmegen only to be loaned off to Geleen in the 1994-1995 season due to financial difficulties of Nijmegen that year. In total he played 11 years with Theo Kruger as a left winger in his line. Former National coach Doug Mason and former teammate Kyle Peterson both stated that Tommie Speel could act on a much higher level than the Dutch League, for instance the strong DEL, IHL or AHL. But due to the fact that Speel studied medicine at the KUN (university) throughout his active playing career he wasn’t able to pursue a hockey-career in Europe or North-America.
Speel’s favorite first line, including himself, with players he played with:
Goal: Rob Polman Tuin
Defence: Antoine Geesink and Kip Noble
Offence: Frank Janssen, himself and Theo Krüger
According to Speel the following players were the best Dutch players ever: Tony Collard, Ron Berteling, Ben Tijnagel, Frank Janssen and Theo Krüger.
His favorite import-players were Kip Noble and Rick Boh.