The Bruins' goalie spent parts of four seasons in Finland and another year in Sweden, not to mention stints on five different clubs in three leagues in the minors in North America. The Michigan native has played in six World Championships for Team USA, as well as last winter's Olympics in Vancouver.
But until this week, his extensive travels couldn't match at least one trip his eldest daughter made before she even celebrated her first birthday.
Kiley Thomas accompanied her mother, Thomas' wife Melissa, on a trip to Prague while Thomas was playing for AIK Solna in Sweden in the 2000-01 season. Now, a decade later, Thomas can finally tell his daughter he's been to the Czech Republic's crown jewel as well, as Thomas arrived with the rest of the Bruins on Sunday in preparation for this weekend's regular-season opener against Phoenix.
"My wife's already been there," said Thomas before departing for Europe. "When I was playing in Sweden she took a trip, and my oldest daughter was like nine months old, so theoretically she's been there, too. At least she wants to take credit for it. She keeps saying, 'I've been there.' And I tell her, 'But you don't remember anything, you were nine months old.'"
Thomas will certainly remember this trip. He didn't bring along his family, opting not to pull his daughters Kiley and Kelsey and his son, Keegan, out of school for so long. Plus, in the case of Kiley, she's already been there and done that as far as Prague is concerned. But Thomas still has a personal connection to Prague he plans to explore this week.
"I'm excited to see the Czech Republic because my college roommate, best friend and partner in my hockey school is from the Czech Republic and I've met a lot of his friends," said Thomas. "It will be interesting to see his hometown. Unfortunately, he's not even going to be able to go, but still I'll see where he grew up."
Thomas roomed with defenseman and Prague native Pavel Navrat at the University of Vermont, where the pair played together for four seasons from 1993-97, and have remained close ever since.
"This should be a blast, going to the Czech [Republic]," said Thomas. "He's my best friend and now I get to see where he came from. He's told me a lot of stories. He came right as Communism was falling. He was marching in the protests when he was 16. It will be interesting to view not only that history, but all the old history that is there also."
Thomas knows he'll be plenty busy this week getting ready for the season, especially as he is still recovering from offseason hip surgery. But he still hopes to have a little time to take in the sights around Prague, which was one place he never got to visit before, despite his extensive experience in Europe.
"I've been a bunch of World Championships over there," said Thomas. "I've been to Switzerland, Austria twice, Germany, Norway, Finland and Sweden, obviously. I took a day trip to Budapest, Hungary, when we were in Austria. So I've been to some places, just not all. I haven't been to some of the bigger places — Italy, France, Spain — the typical spots, but I've been to the ones that have hockey, basically."
Now he can add Prague to the list, and finally have an answer for Kiley the next time she wants to compare notes on European vacations.