Last Updated: September 29, 2008 2:46 PM
Ken Wolff Minor Memories
Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins. (Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)The 34-year-old goalie from Flint, Michigan has manned creases in Sweden, Finland, and North America. He started 57 games for the Boston Bruins in 2007-2008, posting a save percentage of .921 and a goals-against average of 2.44.
CBCSports.ca: How did you get into hockey?
Thomas: "We had an IHL team in Flint back in the day, the Flint Generals, and my dad became a huge fan. So I started going to games with him when I was two or three, and I became a big fan too. And from that time, my dad was shooting pucks at me.
"I actually started out playing my first year at forward, when I was four or five. Then came the 1980 Olympics and Jim Craig, the USA goalie, was the one who made me want to be in net. He was one of the huge stars of the Olympics, I remember watching it and I was just so impressed with him. So I wanted to be a goalie, and around that time is when I switched."
CBCSports.ca: What was the first game you can remember playing?
Thomas: "I remember my first year at forward, stepping out onto the ice rink and seeing what everyone else looked like. Then, I guess the next games would be when I was six, playing for Compuware (a Detroit AAA squad) when they first became a program. I remember playing in games all year, and I had a pretty good team, with Brian Rolston and Pat Peake on it."
CBCSports.ca: Who was your funniest teammate?
Thomas: "No one person sticks out younger in my career, but I've ran into a couple really funny people over the past few years. Like Jeff Hamilton, he played for Carolina last year, and I played with him in Finland back in 2001. He was very quick and was more of a joker too, he'd do stuff around the locker room.
"And Quinn Hancock, I played with him during the lockout year in Finland. He's from Calgary, and I think he might've been the funniest guy I've ever played with. Very quick with replies, one of those people that naturally remembers all of the old sayings. He just let the fun come to him, and was a fun guy to sit around."
CBCSports.ca: Where was the most memorable tournament you ever played?
Thomas: "I think the Owen Sound one. I'm not sure what age I was then, I think it's when I was on the Compuware team, but we were there for a tournament and Owen Sound were huge favourites. I believe they were beating everybody, like, 10-1 going into the finals.
"Nobody really gave us a chance, and I don't know who came up with the chant--it sounds childish but we went out on the ice for the game chanting 'Owen Sound, to the ground, Owen Sound, to the ground!' (laughs) And we ended up winning the game."
CBCSports.ca: Where was the worst arena you've ever played at?
Thomas: "Alpina, Michigan. It was a bubble, like one of those sports bubbles. It's up in north Michigan, right on the lakeshore, so the wind is just whipping across. I don't think I ever played up there where it was not really cold.
"I remember playing games up there where in between periods they'd stop the game for us to go in the locker room, take our skates off, and our parents brought us our coats and some hot chocolate. It was the only way we could get through it."
CBCSports.ca: Where was the coldest game of hockey you ever played?
Thomas: "I'd have to say Alpina's probably the coldest. It wasn't just one game, it was a few games over the years, but every time it was the same thing. Even when I played in Finland as a pro, half hour from the Arctic Circle, it was never that cold. They might as well have just taken off the bubble, because it probably would've been warmer outside than it was in that arena."
CBCSports.ca: Who was the most memorable hockey parent you ever met?
Thomas: "Vic Tertile. My dad and him were friends. He was a very funny guy, and he got very stressed out by his son playing. He'd lose his hair every hockey season, and then grow it back in the summer. And he also had this habit of not being able to find the rinks that we played at, so his son Pete was late quite often. Not because his dad didn't leave early, but because he couldn't find the rink or he'd go to the wrong rink.
"My dad actually wrote a little article in the Michigan Hockey Elite League newsletter when we were playing with them, and it was a joke saying that he was going to start an organization called 'Get Pete to the Right Rink Organization.' (laughs)"
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