Tom Collins: April 3, 1931 - Sept. 1, 2019
Tom Collins, a prominent figure skating impresario and member of three halls of fame, passed away Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019, in Edina, Minnesota. He was 88 years old.
Best known for his Champions on Ice tour, Collins was inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame (1998), U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame (1998) and Skate Canada Hall of Fame (2000).
Collins was born in the small gold-mining town of Kirkland Lake, Ontario, on April 3, 1931. To pay for his skating, at age 15 he joined his father working inside the Lake Shore gold mine at depths reaching 4,000 feet.
Collins’ love for skating started as a young boy in Northern Ontario, where he was a novice champion in the 1940s. Inspired by his sister Marty, who toured with ice skating shows, Collins joined the Holiday on Ice tour in 1949 as a chorus skater and worked his way up to become its vice president and general manager. With one foot still in the skating world, Collins entered the music industry in 1960 and started his own promotion and merchandising company, working with such music greats as Bob Dylan, John Denver, the Beach Boys and Neil Diamond, who remained a longtime friend.
In 1969, Collins created what would become “Champions on Ice,” which at its height performed in more than 90 cities and commonly sold out 20,000-seat arenas. The tour featured such American stars as Peggy Fleming, Dorothy Hamill, Scott Hamilton, Brian Boitano, Kristi Yamaguchi and Michelle Kwan. After 37 years, Collins sold the tour to AEG in 2006.
This past May, dozens of Collins’ star performers traveled to Minneapolis for a reunion to celebrate and thank the man they simply called “Tommy.”
As U.S. Figure Skating’s top individual benefactor, the organization’s headquarters is housed in the Tom Collins Building in Colorado Springs.
He is survived by three sons, all of Edina: Michael (Angie Bartness), Mark (Monica Elicerio), and Martin (Alissa); six grandchildren (Lauren, Dylan, Brady, Reese, Austin and Georgia); three nephews Tom, Bruce, and Gary, and their families; and longtime devoted companion Teri Tucker. He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Janie, sister Martha (Marty) Chalfen, and brothers Harris and Gerald (Butch).
Services will be held at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 14, at Our Lady of Grace Church, 571 Eden Ave., Edina, Minnesota. Visitation with the family is scheduled for the hour prior to the service. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to U.S. Figure Skating’s Memorial Fund, 20 First Street, Colorado Springs, CO 80906.