Former goaltender Tim Thomas won't ever have to pay for a drink in Boston again.
After all, the Flint, Michigan native backstopped the Boston Bruins to their first Stanley Cup in decades in 2011 and also took home Conn Smythe Trophy honors as the most valuable player in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
He took a year off from hockey before reemerging with the Florida Panthers and briefly with the Dallas Stars before calling it a career with 214 career wins at the NHL level. He was recently honored by being inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.
But before his induction, he detailed the complications that he still suffers from having undergone brain damage during his playing days.
“I wake up every day and basically I have to reorder everything in my mind for the first couple hours of the day and then make a list and try to make some choices to get some stuff done,” Thomas said
He explained that a scan before his retirement showed that two-thirds of his brain were getting less than 5% blood flow and the other third was getting less than 50%. It was so bad, he was barely able to even watch the game he starred in on television.
“I couldn't keep up with watching a game for a few years after I stopped playing,” he said. “My brain wasn't functioning well enough to watch a game. So I sat in the woods for a few years.”
He attended his first NHL game since retiring on Wednesday, dropping the ceremonial first puck before a matchup between his former Boston Bruins teammates and the Washington Capitals. He says that he's doing better after years of therapy, and communication and experimental treatments
“It taught me a value for life and a value for my brain that I’ve never had before,” Thomas said. “And I have appreciation for everything that I never had before. I don’t regret anything.”