It’s been a long time since we had heard from Tim Thomas.
The former Boston Bruins goaltender resurfaced Wednesday after a years-long silence with the media following his inclusion in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame’s 2019 induction class. Thomas, 45, didn’t reveal too much about his personal life, which he has kept out of the spotlight since he retired in 2014.
But Thomas did drop one intriguing comment regarding his health.
The 2011 Stanley Cup Final hero and Conn Smythe winner was in headlines this June following an Internet rumor that he would be at TD Garden during the Bruins playoff run to serve as a banner captain. Thomas was asked during his conference call if he could see himself getting back involved with the Bruins in that sort of a capacity.
“That’s a tough one,” Thomas said. “With the state of my nervous system since I retired, I wouldn’t be able to hardly handle the energy of the crowd in Boston. So it isn’t as simple as it may seem. Having said that, you never know what the future may hold. I’m just taking life as it goes.”
Thomas bringing up his nervous system certainly leads to curiosity over his health.
It turns out that Thomas dealt with a concussion in his final season that “affected me greatly,” as he put it in a 2017 promotional video he made with TurningPoint Medical Group out of Colorado Springs.
“From a lifetime of sports and a high-level career in hockey I accumulated a lot of brain damage — unbeknownst to myself — over the time,” Thomas said in the 2017 YouTube video. “I didn’t understand it until it finally caught up with a couple of years ago.”
It’s not entirely surprising that Thomas’ post-hockey health issues remained under the radar given that he estranged himself from the game, but it certainly provides some clarity as to why Thomas has chosen to remain away from the game as he seeks methods of recovery.
Thomas won the Vezina Trophy twice in Boston, and carried a 196-121 record with the Black and Gold. In nine seasons, he had a 2.52 GAA and .920 save percentage.