Tim Thomas, Newly Named to the Hall of Fame, Re-Emerges after Long Hiatus
BOSTON – The city of Boston is known for its history, for its universities, for the glorious accents of its residents. But one of the most important cultural aspects of the city is undeniably the sports scene. Cities like Los Angeles and New York are passionate about their sports teams, but there is such a wide-range of cultural activities in those two American hubs that the fervency is not often as present as it is in Boston. After all, during the bitter winters, it can often seem like the Patriots, Bruins, and Celtics are the only things that give Bostonians any joy. And in the heat of the summer, we love to head to Fenway Park.
But the downside of Boston being the sports capital of the world is the fact that many fans and journalists can sometimes become way too wrapped in the games and the athletes. When the sports are treated like life or death, anyone who gets in the way of victory can be treated like a villain. Of course, if you are a clutch piece of a championship puzzle, you are a hero, but that can be a rare achievement. Boston is an unforgiving city to play in.
One of the best goalies to every play for the Boston Bruins, Tim Thomas, learned this the hard way. The most important player during the team's 2011 Stanley Cup run, Thomas won over Boston fans, seemingly for life as he stymied every team the Bruins came into contact with. However, when the team was prepared to celebrate the victory with President Barack Obama at the White House in 2012, Thomas became a controversial figure instead.
A member of the controversial (to say the least) Tea Party, Thomas rejected the White House's invitation, decried the Obama administration as one that was threatening his rights, and immediately received ire from those who believed he had no idea what he was talking about, which were many.
After retiring from the NHL in 2014 at age 39, Thomas just dropped out of the public eye. He was not like Curt Schilling, always trying to wedge his way back into discussions, sports or otherwise, in Boston. He just went radio silent and entered into a hiatus where no one ever heard from him, not even the league or the Bruins.
On Wednesday, however, it was announced that Tim Thomas is going to be enshrined in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, an honor he definitely deserves. But many wondered if he was going to remark on the commemoration at all.
And for the first time in years, Thomas spoke to the press in a conference call where he iterated that he feels no attachment to hockey and feels that he has "learned as much from" it as he could. In fact, Thomas also remarked that the Bruins' 2019 post-season run was the first time he had watched hockey since his retirement.
Thomas also acknowledged that he was grateful for the honor, but maintained his desire for privacy by saying, "Everybody probably knows nowadays I don't have that much to say, at least publicly. I've decided to keep whatever I've been doing in my life to myself, probably forever."
He also remarked that his anxiety was likely to preclude him from ever returning to Boston as he said, "It's not fun for me to travel anymore. It has nothing to do with the Boston Bruins or Boston fans. They loved the crap out of me when I was there."
He will, however, travel to Washington, D.C., where he will be inducted this December.
Also in Thomas' Hall of Fame class are Gary Bettman, Brian Gionta, Krissy Wendell, and Neal Henderson.
Image via Wikimedia Commons / Naomi