The goalie who backstopped the Boston Bruins to their only Stanley Cup since 1972 is ready to become part of the Bruins family again.
In the latest edition of ‘Bear Tracks’ a Boston Bruins social media show hosted by Eric Russo, the two-time Vezina Trophy and 2011 Conn Smythe winner told Russo that he’s looking forward to being part of the Bruins’ Centennial celebration this coming season.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Thomas said from his new hometown of Barre, Vermont. “I’m looking forward to seeing some old teammates. It seems like Bruins have planned a lot of exciting events, and it should be a fun season.”
Thomas and Russo were part of a group helping rebuild YouthBuild’s Vermont-based facility in Barre after it was damaged in the devastating floods that hit multiple Vermont locations last month.
“It’s been great,” Thomas told Russo. “I got to learn about a new organization, YouthBuild, and learn about the good work they’re doing with helping a ton of kids to find their way. So it was nice to be able to help them out.”
YouthBuild is a national program that helps young adults ages 16 to 24 through job training and educational opportunities in multiple trades.
🎥 #NHLBruins alum Tim Thomas goes 1-on-1 with @erusso22 after his day of volunteering in Vermont: “I live up here now, starting to feel a part of the community…I always did, which is why I came back. I’m glad to be a part of this and glad that #BearTracks came to help.” pic.twitter.com/1VU1d7oy66
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) August 7, 2023
By all accounts, Tim Thomas, 49, appears to have a new lease on life and has moved on from a dark period he battled through towards the end of his career and into the first few years after he retired from the NHL in the 2013-14 season as a member of the Dallas Stars. Thomas moved west to Colorado and fell off the map as he battled post-concussion symptoms. Thomas resurfaced in 2019 when he was inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame, and in his first encounter with the media since his playing days ended, Thomas revealed that he had a brain scan that showed that two-thirds of his brain was getting less than 5% blood flow and the other third was averaging about 50%.
“Everybody probably knows nowadays I don’t actually have all that much to say, at least publicly,” Thomas said on a conference call with reporters on September 4, 2019. “Obviously I’ve decided to keep what I’ve been doing with my life and learning to myself at this point, for sure, and probably forever.”
After an abrupt exit from the Boston Bruins organization that saw Thomas get dealt to the New York Islanders at the start of the 2012-13 lockout-shortened season. He never suited up for the Islanders, but the following season, he appeared in 40 games for the Florida Panthers going 16-20-3 with a 2.87 GAA and a .909 save percentage. He was then traded to the Dallas Stars where he went 2-4-1 with a 2.97 GAA and a .902 save percentage.
Thomas originally didn’t see himself making a return to Boston and definitely not taking part in an event at TD Garden.
“I just don’t see it,” Thomas said in 2019. “I have other interests. I have a totally other focus. I live in a totally different world than the hockey world that I lived in before. I live a long ways away from Boston, and it’s not that fun for me to travel anymore. It isn’t anything to do with the Boston Bruins or the Boston fans, especially. My goodness, they loved the crap out of me when I was there to the point where it was hard to handle.”
Now it appears that the goalie who put a team and a city on his back for that memorable ride to the 2011 Stanley Cup is ready to come back and embrace a fan base that has been longing to embrace and thank him.