A descendant of American Revolutionary war figure Lieutenant Charles Tutt, Thayer Tutt was a powerful force in the improvement of hockey instruction and competition in the United States. Based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, his sporting influence and business ventures generated millions of dollars in economic spin-offs for that community.
Tutt originally hailed from California but grew up in Colorado Springs. He served in the US Army Air Corps during World War II when he rose to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel and was presented the Legion of Merit. He returned to Colorado Springs and embarked on a lucrative business career with his brother based on the Broadmoor luxury hotel.
One of Tutt's goals was to build the reputation of the Broadmoor investments through a close association with sport. He built the Broadmoor World Arena as a venue to attract events from all over the continent. When the NCAA needed a site for its first national tournament, Tutt offered the state-of-the-art facility in Colorado Springs. He not only gave the tournament its start, he personally underwrote it for the first decade until it was financially viable on its own.
Tutt was a perfect fit for international hockey as his central philosophy was that evolution of the game was paramount and should not be obstructed by politics. He was a key organizer of the US national team and was responsible for bringing the Soviet National team to North America for the first time in 1959. Tutt was influential in bringing the World Championships to Colorado Springs in 1962. Four years later he began a three-year term as president of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and was a constant its council.
A major coup for Tutt was convincing the US Air Force Academy to locate in Colorado Springs. In the early 1970s, when word leaked out that the US Olympic Committee was looking for a modern location for its training centre, Tutt convinced them that Colorado was the most suitable option. Each of these successes pumped millions of dollars into the local economy.
Between 1972 and 1986, Tutt was the president of the Amateur Hockey Association of the United States (AHAUS). In 1973 he was elected to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame and five years later he was the recipient of the Lester Patrick award for outstanding service to hockey in his home country. Tutt was also elected to the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, Colorado Golf Hall of Fame and the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. In 1987, he received the Olympic Order, the International Olympic Committee's highest award of distinction. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1978.