Tim Ecclestone grew up in a sporting environment. His uncle, Cam, was one of Canada's greatest softball pitchers. But in spite of his baseball heritage, young Tim opted for the sport of hockey.
On his way up to the pro ranks, he played Junior B with the Etobicoke Indians. Surprisingly, in 1964, at the age of 17, he was selected 9th overall by the New York Rangers. He carried on with his junior career, however, skating for the Kitchener Rangers until 1967. It was at that time that the fledgling St. Louis Blues traded for his rights along with a handful of other recruits. Ecclestone had a reasonable degree of success during his three-plus seasons with the club. He potted a modest share of points each year, especially during the playoffs, and covered his own end with a competent touch.
By 1970-71, the Blues' management became unhappy with Red Berenson's alliance with the NHL Players' Association. Ecclestone dabbled with the collective as well and, as a slap on the wrist, received a one-way ticket to the Motor City. With the Wings, he enjoyed the club's chemistry but grew to hate the fact that the team was a perennial loser. By 1973 he had had enough. He requested a trade that was accommodated with a transfer to Toronto.
With the Leafs Ecclestone was unable to establish any kind of momentum, thanks, for the most part, to shoulder and rib injuries that kept him on the sidelines. As a result, his rights were traded to the Washington Capitals who, in turn, passed him along on the same day to the Atlanta Flames.
In Georgia, Ecclestone found a role for himself as a veteran forward who was sufficiently versatile to fill gaps wherever they emerged. He kept up the pace until he injured his knee in 1978. At that point the club recruited him to serve as an assistant coach?a position he maintained until the club moved to Calgary.