Summer 2024

Sabres All-Star Tage Thompson enjoying career year, strives to 'be a light' for Christ

Tage Thompson recorded 68 points (38 goals and 30 assists) in 78 games last season in what was easily the best year of his career. The Buffalo Sabres rewarded the 25-year-old center with a 7-year, $50 million contract extension this offseason, and Thompson is repaying the faith Buffalo showed in him.

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He’s played 50 games this season and has already matched that career-best point total. Entering the All-Star break, Thompson has 34 goals and 34 assists, and is one of three players in the NHL to rank in the top five in goals and points.

Thompson’s breakout season earned him his first selection to the All-Star Game, which will take place Saturday in Sunrise, Florida. He exited Wednesday’s loss to the Carolina Hurricanes with an upper-body injury, so his status for the All-Star Game is unclear.

“It’s just such a cool opportunity, something that’s new for me, so I think just trying to take every bit of it in. … Obviously, it’s not something a lot of people get to do,” Thompson said while speaking to the media Tuesday.

One special moment in a season full of them was the day after Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field, when the Sabres wore T-shirts in support of Hamlin to their game against the Washington Capitals. That night, Thompson produced his third hat trick of the season, scoring the game-winner three minutes into overtime.

When he was made aware of all the ways Hamlin’s jersey number showed up in his performance, Thompson pointed to his faith.

“I’m a big believer in God and I think that’s a sign,” he said after the game. “I don’t know if you can make up something quite like that. I think prayer is a powerful thing, and that’s really all you can do in this situation. That’s what we’re going to continue to do.”

Thompson said in a 2019 interview with A Lamp Unto My Cleats that his favorite Bible verse is Jeremiah 29:11, which reads: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

The verse hangs in his stall in the locker room as a reminder to keep trusting in God’s plan.

“This verse is my favorite because for me it’s so easy to get caught up in my own plans, and what I want and what I hope to happen in my career and life, that I forget who’s really in control,” he told the website. “When I look back at this verse, it gives me peace knowing that God’s in control and that He has great things in store for me if I just let go and put all my trust in Him. I never have to worry or stress because God is always faithful, all I have to do is trust His plan that He has for me.”

Thompson relies on the hope he has in Christ, and he wants to use his hockey career to bring others to Christ so they can experience the same hope and peace.

“It’s nice to have a firm faith that reassures you that God has a plan for you, and that if you just trust in Him, you have nothing to worry or be anxious about because He has a plan better than any of us can imagine,” he told His Huddle in 2020. “And I think that hockey influences my faith because I’m able to use the platform I’ve been given to try and be a light to others to show what it means to be a follower of Christ. And hopefully lead others to come to know Him.”

The Sabres return to action when they host the Calgary Flames on Feb. 11. They are one point back of the final wild-card spot and have not made the playoffs since 2010-11.

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