Veteran goaltender Tim Thomas
has gone to the World Championships on behalf of the United States a whopping six times in his 15-year professional career.
He’s played in three Tampere Cups. He’s earned one medal. He’s played in 254 NHL games and led the Boston Bruins to the playoffs twice. But the 35-year-old netminder has never been to the Olympics -- that is, until now.
Along with fellow USA netminders Ryan Miller and Jonathan Quick, Thomas will represent his home country for the first time at the highest international level.
“I’ve been waiting thirty years for this opportunity,” Thomas said. “I couldn’t be happier.
“I’m American to the bone.”
The Flint, Michigan native has been a Boston Bruin his entire NHL career, beginning in 2002. Since then he’s registered a .918 save percentage and a 2.60 GAA with a 122-88-34 record.
As last season's Vezina trophy winner, Thomas was a natural choice to round out the USA roster and was named to the team following the Boston Bruins 2-1 overtime victory over the Philadelphia Flyers in the Winter Classic.
"Between winning and the way that we won, and being named to the U.S. Olympic team...I feel like I've been waiting my whole life for this opportunity," said Thomas on January 1. "You know, to be able to be named at your home crowd -- but at Fenway Park -- I mean, you add those things together, and...this is a story that will be told for the rest of my life."
Despite its NHL star power, by many accounts the United States team remains an underdog in comparison to the Canadian and Russian squads, and echoes of the world-renowned 1980 Olympic “miracle” are heard whenever the Winter Olympics come around.
When asked if he could repeat 1980 goaltender Jim Craig’s accomplishments, Thomas did not hesitate to let his imagination wander.
“That would be a dream come true,” he said. “That’s what I’ve dreamed of since I was five years old.”