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Interview With Bruins Star Tim Thomas PDF Print E-mail
Written by Preston Junger   
Saturday, 31 May 2008

 Tim Thomas started his hockey career in 1993, playing for the University of Vermont. While at Vermont, he was a three-time All-ECAC Conference selection and a two-time All-America selection. He ranks first all-time amongst Vermont goalies in games played (140), wins (81), and minutes played (3950). He was drafted by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1994 NHL entry draft as their #9 pick, #217 overall, but continued at Vermont until the 1997–98 season, when he played for the Birmingham Bullsin the ECHL as well as for the Houston Aerosin the IHL, and then transferred to HIFK in Finland. For the 1998–99 season, Thomas initially returned to North America, playing 15 games for the Hamilton Bulldogs, but he returned to HIFK or the rest of the season.

On July 1, 2007, the Bruins acquired goaltender  Manny Fernandez from the Minnesota Wild, while soon after trading Toivonen to the St. Louis Blues. Many hockey analysts presumed that Thomas would support Fernandez as a backup goaltender for the 2007–08, or at least enter a Number 1–1A goaltending system, with Fernandez being higher on the depth chart. Not uncommon to what Thomas saw the two seasons prior, Fernandez got off to a sluggish start, posting a 1–1 record with 5.01 GAA and a 79.6% save percentage in his first two appearances. Therefore, Thomas again was thrust into the starting role, as he posted a 3–1 record with a 1.26 GAA and a 96.2% save percentage in his first four appearances. He currently leads the NHL in save percentage with a 93.6% save percentage. (Wikipedia ).

VT Sports Network was able to catch up with the Catamount legend and current Boston Bruins goaltender.  Fresh off his NHL playoff run, and preparing for his Hockey Camp this Summer, Thomas discusses the past season, his ties to the current Vermont Hockey program and more.  We hope you enjoy.

VTSN:  Can you summarize the past season for the Bruins and the playoff run?

TT:  Last season was a very successful season for the Boston Bruins.  It was our first trip back to the playoffs in a couple of years, and the team as a whole made huge strides.  After a total overhaul caused by the lockout year, the Bruins basically started from scratch.  We now seem to have a pretty good mix of youth and veteran presence that should bode well for the future. 

I think the playoff run was incredible.  Both for the experience I had personally, and for putting the Bruins back on the map in Boston.  The Bruins fans have been waiting for a team to get excited over and I think we showed that there is a lot to be excited for in the upcoming season. 

VTSN:  Do you keep in touch with your former UVM teammates? 

TT:  I keep in touch with former teammates.  Obviously, I play against Marty and Eric so it's easier to see them on a regular basis.  I just was at the World Championships, playing for Team USA, where I was able to hang out a bit with Marty (who played for Team Canada).  Pavel Navrat is one of my best friends and visits me often both during the offseason and the season.  A few teammates are still in Vermont (Jason Hamilton and Dale Patterson), so I see them on occasion.  A couple of teammates are in the Boston area (Tom Quinn, Scott McDonald, Eric Lavoie, Keith Festa) that I run into once in a while.  And then there are others that come to the games when we are travelling with the Bruins that I occasionally get to go to dinner with (Phil Eboli, Matt Johnson, etc.).

VTSN:  How involved are you with the current UVM hockey team and coaching staff?

TT:  The NHL season is very busy and UVM's hockey season is during the same time period.  I've made it back to the Alumni golf tournament several times, and I met Coach Snedden and some of the current players.  I talk on the phone with Coach Snedden and get text messages from Terry Laviollette on occasion.

This past season, Coach Snedden asked me to speak to the UVM team in person before the Hockey East Final Four, which takes place in the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston.  I had the honor of addressing the team and wished them luck.  Several of the current players will be working with me at Tim Thomas Hockey schools this summer.

VTSN:  Do you get back to Burlington often?  When was the last time?

TT:  I try to get back to Burlington for at least two weeks every summer.  This year I'll be able to spend three weeks (CLICK HERE for more information on the Tim Thomas Hockey Camp ), so I'm looking forward to that.  The last time I was in Burlington was two weekends ago.  I just came back to visit some friends and enjoy the early summer weather.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 31 May 2008 )
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