Tom Smelle began playing hockey in the CYO Organization in 1938. He played forward with the St. Catharines junior A Falcons from 1944-1946 and attended the rookie camp of the Chicago Blackhawks in 1947.
From 1947 to 1951, the left winger played with the Hamilton Tigers senior A hockey team. In 1947, the team made the Canadian semifinals and he let the team in scoring. In 1952-1953, he played with the St. John’s senior A team that lost in the Canadian finals to the Quebec Aces.
He concluded his senior A career with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (1953-1955), before returning to Niagara to play senior B hockey with Stamford and Niagara Falls. In both seasons, he won the league scoring crowns.