Tim Thomas is a man of few words, especially as of late.
The netminder that led the Bruins to their first Stanley Cup title in 39 years has largely gone off the grid since the end of the 2013-14 season — his final campaign in the NHL.
In the five years that followed, the 45-year-old Thomas has not made a public appearance — nor has he shed much light on his final seasons with Boston and his abrupt break from the game of hockey.
But on Wednesday, Thomas broke his silence, speaking with reporters via conference call after being named as one of the entrants of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame’s Class of 2019. Thomas — along with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, Brian Gionta, Krissy Wendel and Neal Henderson — will all be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame during a ceremony in Washington, D.C.on December 12.
"I’m honored to be receiving this recognition," Thomas said. "I'd like to thank USA Hockey for experiences that have led to a storybook life ... My whole life's been rewarding. My time with the Boston Bruins was rewarding. My time with USA Hockey was very rewarding."
Storybook might be underselling it when it comes to Thomas. After graduating from the University of Vermont, the Michigan native had stints in both Finland and Sweden before finding a home in Boston, making his NHL debut in 2002 at age 28 before eventually returning to Finland during the lockout-shortened 2004-05 campaign.
Thomas finally became a regular contributor with the Bruins at age 31, starting an unbelievable run that featured the netminder taking home two Vezina Trophies in 2009 and 2011 as the league's best netminder. Thomas' time in Boston culminated in the spring and summer of 2011, when he became the oldest player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP — leading the Bruins to a Stanley Cup with a .940 save percentage and 1.98 GAA over 25 postseason games.
Thomas still stands the Bruins all-time leader in save percentage (.921), while ranking fourth in shutouts (31), fifth in wins (196) and GAA (2.48), and sixth in games played (378).
Hockey is not simply a thing of the past in the Thomas household, with the goalie noting that his daughter just earned an internship with the Bruins on Tuesday. And while he wasn't present at TD Garden during Boston's latest run to the Cup Final, he did add that he kept tabs on his former team.
"Last year’s playoffs is actually the first year that I started to watch because Boston was doing so well," he said.
Still, when asked if he would ever consider getting involved with the NHL in some capacity down the road, Thomas was candid.