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TD Bank

POSTED ON Tuesday, 09.06.2011 / 9:00 PM
By John Bishop - BostonBruins.com / Stanley's Travels

BOSTON -- There's no doubt that Shawn Thornton has made a difference on and off the ice in Boston, but it's pretty clear that Boston has made quite an impression on Thornton as well.

As such the B's on-ice beat cop made sure to take some time to thank the people in and around his adopted home.

"The people have been unbelievable to me ever since I got here," said Thornton, who asked the powers-that-be to give him a little extra time with the Stanley Cup in order to give back to Boston.

"The organization, the Hall of Fame and the NHL were very gracious about giving me a day here on top of the one I had in my hometown," said Thornton from the dining room of the Warren Tavern in Charlestown. "So far, I mean we're only halfway through the day, it's been a good day.

"We've taken it to a couple of local establishments and all the people seem to be having a good time with the trophy, so I think everyone is getting a kick out of it.

"You see all the smiles on everyone's faces and that's pretty cool to see," he said.

Thornton said he was going to maximize that smile count, too.

"I know so many people in town now that I'm going to try and stop by a couple other places to get some pictures and take care of everybody as much as I can," said Thornton.

For Shawn, those stops included places like the Ironsides Grill, also in Charlestown, and the Red Sox offices at Fenway Park.



"We're going to take it to Fenway and let the people in the ticket office get to spend some time with it," said Thornton. "They're unbelievable to me over there.

"So we had talked about it and we're going to try and take it over there for a half an hour to 45 minutes and let all the people in the ticket office take their picture with it," he said, before adding "Then it's on to Children's after that."

Children's is, of course, Children's Hospital Boston.

"I know it's been to a few hospitals since we've won it and we're trying to figure out where we could take it where it hasn't been or it hasn't been in a while," said Thornton. "It's for the kids.

"I guess it sounds [cliche] because everyone says it's for the kids, but it is. So we want to take it there and bring some smiles to the faces of all the children.

"I mean that trophy has some special powers."

And so do the children. Thornton marveled at the patients' ability to transcend their illnesses.

"[Even] with the things that they are going through and they always have smiles on their faces it's pretty awesome," he said.

After a couple more city stops, Thornton planned to slow things down.

"I'm taking it to dinner with just me and my wife [Erin]," said Thornton. "I'm taking it to Navy Yard Bistro. My friend John Moore owns the restaurant. "It's a place in Charlestown where I spend a lot of time and John's a good friend of mine.

"He's recovering from an infection he had a year ago. He was in a coma basically and now he's walking around and swinging a golf club a little bit and he's been very supportive of my charities and stuff. So I'm going to take my wife in there.

"He said he's bringing out the best bottle of wine he has so I think we're going to try and enjoy that."

And then Thornton and a "few" friends will be treated to a private Dropkick Murphys concert.

"Kenny Casey's been unbelievable about tonight," said Thornton of the band's lead singer. "He's pretty much set all this stuff up tonight.

"He was supposed to have a [celebrity] golf tournament today and I was supposed to play in it...he cancelled that and he's bringing all the celebrities in, the corporate sponsors too, for a private show and of course I invited four or five hundred of my closest friends.

"It's like an astronomical number, but it should be a good time and the Dropkicks are going to play a private show for a couple of hours.

"It's going to be awesome."

Just like the rest of the summer.

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POSTED ON Monday, 09.05.2011 / 3:42 PM
By John Bishop - BostonBruins.com / Stanley's Travels

BOSTON -- Andrew Ference brought Stanley back home to Boston for his day with the Cup on September 5.

"Well I've lived almost half my life in the States, so I feel like ive got a lot of homes," said the B's veteran defenseman, who hails from Edmonton, Alberta, when asked why he decided to spend his day with the Stanley Cup in the Hub of Hockey.

"Obviously, with the kids growing up and in school, we have a neighborhood that we live in and you add all the things together we have a lot of really close friends here in Boston.

"On top of that, it means a lot to this city. You know? If this was the type of city that wasn't so passionate about their hockey then I probably would have taken it home [to Canada]."

Like many of his teammates, Ference considers Boston more than a home-away-from-home.

"It's a great place," continued Ference. "They've been great to me and it's like home to us, just as much as anywhere else.

"A lot of my family came down here instead and will celebrate down here and have a good time...and we'll have a ton of people that we consider good friends with us."

That number would grow considerably during the day as Ference decided to bike the Cup around the city.

"I wanted to do that, I didn't know if I'd be able to pull it off or not," said Ference with a laugh.

"You know that's another perk of having it in Boston, you can get the Boston PD to help out and they've been pretty great and with the pedicabs we have a caravan going."



That caravan consisted of a some police on bicycles, a couple of bicycle cabs and Ference & Stanley -- with the Cup safely tucked into a cart that would normally carry Andrew's young daughters.

"So, we're doing a couple of cool things as far as my environmental interests go," explained Ference of his green tour. "I'm a big biker and would love to see more bike lanes in the city and all those kind of things.

"Even the beer that we are supplying for the party is from Harpoon -- a good local brewery that's doing their own environmental initiatives -- so, it's little things like that that I wanted to pepper into today.

"It's fun and I can do them -- it's my day -- so I can get away with them and have a good time with it," he said.

That good time began at the Beacon Hill Nursery School.

"This is the nursery school where my youngest daughter is going to go and where my oldest daughter did go," said Ference, from the middle of a gorgeous courtyard playground nestled in the middle of the historic neighborhood.

"It's great, we're right in the middle of Boston," he said. "From here we're going to Spaulding hospital, which is a hospital that we've done some work with over the past few years and they're tremendous.

"We're going to meet with some special people over there."

Finally, Ference would bring the Cup to some of the oldest addresses in Boston.

"We've got a procession in the North End which is going to be pretty much off the charts," said Ference. "After that, it's some good family time and a good little party at the end."

Beyond the bikes and the procession, Ference said that his intention, first and foremost, was always to share the Cup with his family and friends in Boston.

"I'm never going to get higher than I lifted it on the ice or in the locker room with the Cup, so to me this is my chance to share it with all of them and give my family some good time with it," said Ference.

"My wife and kids are obviously just as much a part of winning, or my career, as I am, so it's important.

"And you go down the list of parents, aunts and uncles and all the support that I've had through the years this is my day to organize and their day to experience and have fun with it," he said.
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POSTED ON Saturday, 09.03.2011 / 7:03 PM

NHL.com is with Tim Thomas in Burlington, VT.


Sunset says it all
09.03.2011 / 9:51 PM ET

BURLINGTON, Ver. -- The last stop of the day for Tim Thomas is one of the local hotels high above Lake Champlain in the Sunset Room.

As the sun dropped behind the mountains the star of the party entered to a picturesque scene. The entire Thomas family, friends, fellow UVM alumni and the people who made this day possible were gathered for a night of fun with Tim's three pieces of hardware before the Bruins goalie has to say goodbye to Lord Stanley for the summer.

The reason this place was picked for his party? It's the location Tim and his wife Melissa where married.

"I think this place was beautiful. In my mind there really was no other place up here to have this party," Thomas said.

Tim's brother-in-law, Brian Kane, organized most of the events in Burlington said the day couldn't of gone any better.

"A perfect day for everyone,” Kane said. “I was glad to be a part of it. I'd happily do it again if we ever had the chance."

His brother-in-law agreed with him.

"These two days with the Cup, in Michigan and Vermont couldn't of gone any better," Thomas said, "I enjoyed myself immensely. It's a lot of work to get these days together but it was really something special."

The other good part about this day for Thomas was closure. I asked the Conn Smythe winner if this really closes the door on the championship season.

"Yeah, it does," Thomas said, "This really puts the stamp on everything we accomplished last season. It also reminds me that I only have 2 weeks till training camp. I need to rest."

Hockey is right around the corner. A huge thank you to the Thomas family for letting the NHL be a part of their 48 hours with the Cup.

-- Josh Landau

Pre-party nap

09.03.2011 / 5:01 PM ET

BURLINGTON, Ver. -- A pre-game nap is part of nearly every player’s daily routine during the season.

There was no exception today, after a quick lunch at Al's French Fries, the Thomas clan headed back to their house on Lake Champlain. While some family and friends took pictures with the Cup, Tim took a nap and it is hard to blame him.

We asked Tim last week in Michigan what was tougher to do, win the Stanley Cup or plan your day with the Cup? His answer was both. While citing that winning the Cup was extremely difficult, he said the planning your day is very stressful.

"The amount of people and places involved, the amount of people who come to see you. You want to make everyone happy," Thomas said.

Even though today is only half over, it has been an exhausting and busy procession through the streets of Burlington. The down time won't last long; family and friends have already started preparing for tonight's private party in South Burlington.

-- Josh Landau



Always part of the community
09.03.2011 / 2:33 PM ET

BURLINGTON, Ver. -- Returning to his alma matter to receive the annual Alumni Achievement Award, the focus turns to the type of man Tim Thomas is and how entrenched he is in this community.

We learned last week in Davidson, Mich., where some of Thomas' character traits came from. Here in Burlington, Vt., we're finding out where they developed to turn him into the man he is today.

"It says so much about Tim that he would take a second day with the Stanley Cup and bring it back here, especially after what Vermont has been through this past week," said Ted Madden, President of the University of Vermont Alumni Association of fellow Catamount men's hockey player (Class of '92) after announcing Thomas as this year's recipient of the Alumni Achievement Award. "He's such a class act in how he treats people, the media and especially the UVM community."

Thomas announced in his acceptance speech that he'll raffle off memorabilia and merchandise at the UVM Catamount store as well as at a private party later tonight with the proceeds going to hurricane relief in the state of Vermont. It is another example of how much this place means to him and the type of person he became while attending school here. Now it's off to lunch and some private family photos at Thomas' house on Lake Champlain.

-- Josh Landau

10,000 smiles

09.03.2011 / 11:41 AM ET

BURLINGTON, Ver. -- When you bring 3 trophies of achievement back to a community that propelled your career, you expect a warm reception -- officials from Burlington, Vt., and the University of Vermont called it unprecedented. An estimated 5,000-10,000 people have lined Church Street in downtown Burlington (if you've ever stood on Church Street you understand how packed that is) to get a glimpse of the Vezina and Conn Smythe trophies, the Stanley Cup and local hero Tim Thomas.

"This is unbelievable, I would have never expected anything this big," Thomas told NHL.com.

In his speech to the crowd he thanked local officials, including the Vermont National Guard, "Through everything that went on last weekend with (hurricane) Irene, I'm glad they're here doing the job they're doing, and happy to bring some smiles to everybody's faces," Thomas said.

Before leaving downtown, Thomas moved through the heavy crowd to hoist the Cup on top of Burlington's Ladder Company fire truck. Now it's off to his alma matter to receive their annual Alumni Achievement Award.

-- Josh Landau

Vermont excited for Thomas

09.02.2011 / 11:35 PM ET

BURLINGTON, Ver. -- Pulling into Burlington shortly after 9:00 PM, there is already plenty of talk about University of Vermont alumni Tim Thomas and his second day this summer with Lord Stanley. Although the Cup doesn't get here till tomorrow, plenty of people are flaunting their Bruins gear in the streets. Quite a few people in our hotel are up here from Boston for a hockey tournament and found out earlier today that win or lose, they get an added bonus of seeing the Cup up close tomorrow.

Thomas has a busy day scheduled, starting with a parade through downtown Burlington up to his alma matter UVM. Stay tuned for updates.

-- Josh Landau

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POSTED ON Monday, 08.29.2011 / 4:13 PM
By John Bishop - BostonBruins.com / Stanley's Travels

Halifax, NS -- Brad Marchand had some tense moments as he, like the rest of North America's East Coast, waited out Hurricane Irene's fury on Sunday and when it seemed certain that planes wouldn't be flying on schedule on Monday morning, he certainly had a few moments of worry.

But a few phone calls and a solid plan B put the Cup back on the road to Halifax on what turned out to be a gorgeous -- albeit windy -- sunny day in Nova Scotia for Marchand's day with the Stanley Cup.

"My dad [Kevin] did a great job of setting up a car to take me, my uncles, my cousins and a few buddies up to PEI," said Brad. "We drove up last night and spent the night there and we had a little hiccup this morning -- the bridge was closed -- and we couldn't get back on the car we went over on.

"So we had to take three taxi vans over the bridge and have a couple more cars meet us on the other side to bring us back to town, but it all worked out all right."

It certainly did, but Marchand couldn't have been shocked to see his family step up on his behalf. They've been doing that his entire career.

As such, Brad was thrilled to be able to use his moment with Stanley to show the world just how important his family and friends are in his life.



"It's very important," said Marchand. "Family is everything and through my whole life and everything I've done, everyone else in my family's done it [too].

"The support that everyone shows; it doesn't matter what it is. Going to work, hockey, volleyball -- whatever it is -- every sport, my family is there every step of the way and it's really amazing how everyone comes together to support each other.

"So, coming through everything, they've been with me every step of the way and it's just that much better to share with them all," he said.

Marchand expanded that sharing to include all of Halifax.

"Well, obviously I grew up here and we have a hockey crazy town at any time," he said. "Something big like this, that has to do with hockey, and everyone will come out and support each other.

"It's amazing, just being around town, how many people love the Bruins and are excited about the team winning.

"So, to bring it back here is very special," said Marchand.

The forward spoke about his other special city, Boston, and explained that some of his favorite moments of the playoffs revolved about the Hub of Hockey's support for the B's.

"I think the best part of it all was pulling through each step and realizing how much it took to win each round," said Marchand. "Then, even after we won the semifinals, being around the city and seeing how much the city and town was enjoying the whole thing was pretty special."

Brad's special day in Halifax seemed to hit all all the marks, too.

"We're going to hang out with the family here for a bit and do some pictures with thema and then we're going to go to the IWK Children's Hospital," said Marchand. "Obviously, that's a big thing to be able to share with the kids.

"Then we're going to have a parade and a little proclamation with the city.

"We're going to go out to the rink where I played my minor hockey and have an opportunity for people to come out there and share the day with me," added Marchand. "It's going to be fun."

It was fun to see Marchand's face as he put the Cup through its paces on a day that matched the banner that now hangs in the St. Margaret's Centre, which proclaimed "Small Towns Big Dreams."

And it was even more fun to see Brad point to the children in the crowd at his own minor hockey arena and tell them to keep dreaming, that their own dreams can come true, and that the proof was right there on the stage with him -- the Stanley Cup.

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POSTED ON Sunday, 08.28.2011 / 6:54 PM
By John Bishop - BostonBruins.com / Stanley's Travels

CORNWALL, PEI -- As his own day with the Stanley Cup got into high gear, Boston Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid talked about his favorite memory from the B's championship run.

McQuaid
"Definitely the parade," he said of the Bruins record setting rolling rally. "That's when it really hit home.

"To see the reaction of the fans and the support that we had was pretty great."

Anyone who saw the reaction of the fans from Prince Edward Island was surely saying the same thing as McQuaid traded a Boston Duck Boat for a hometown "Harbour Hippo" to travel through Cornwall to celebrate the Black & Gold's Stanley Cup championship.

For Adam, the return to his home in the Canadian Maritimes was a given.

"To go to the different schools and different places that I spent a lot of time growing up -- that's what made me what I am today and it's nice to go back and see those places and especially to bring this along with me," said McQuaid.

In fact, McQuaid wanted today to go well so badly for his family, friends and fans, he was still showing some nerves even as he held the Cup in his arms at mid-morning.

"The nerves are dying down a little bit, but even still I'm still a little nervous," he said. "You know, it's a big day and I've been waiting a while for it. And hopefully everything goes smooth.

"A lot of planning when into today," added McQuaid. "Hopefully everything can work out."

By all accounts, McQuaid's day went off without a hitch.

"Well, we picked up the cup at the airport and we had a little tour around my hometown of Cornwall," said McQuaid, downplaying he and Stanley's packed schedule,"the different schools that I went to growing up and the old rink that I played at growing up.

"And right now we're at my father's homestead where he grew up to get some pictures and wait around for the parade.

"Then I'll have a little private gathering," he said.



In contrast my own private notions, it's the land that is so initially striking about the first impression of Prince Edward Island, and as McQuaid was photographed in and around his old stomping grounds, the green beauty of the natural landscape and the red soil of the fields contrasted nicely with the dark blue hues of the Atlantic seen in Charlottetown.

Most interesting (and perhaps a first for the Cup) was the McQuaid family's visit to a local potato farm and pictures with Stanley some very well known products of their home province.

"Well, really, it's what PEI is known for," said McQuaid of the potatoes. "It's kind of cliche I guess, but it's still part of who I am and where I am from."

Those people who surrounded him in nearly every picture -- McQuaid's family and friends -- certainly get the lion's share of credit for instilling the work ethic and values that fueled Adam's ascension to the NHL and the young blueliner made sure everyone knew it.

"I've had an amazing amount of support from my family and, you know, today's a day that we all get to share together and for a lot of people here it will their first chance to see the Cup -- it's exciting to see the reaction you get from people when they get to see it," he said.

McQuaid, a soft spoken, but well spoken, recent entry in the B's locker room, decided to take a moment to thank the hundreds of people who lined his parade's route and waited in the parking lot of the APM Centre.

"To see the support that I have here keeps me going during the season. It gives me the added motivation a lot of days," said McQuaid. "There's some long days, so knowing that I have the support from you guys means a lot.

"I'd like to thank all the volunteers here today for making today happen. I had a great committee that helped put the day together. It wouldn't have been able to go as smooth -- so far -- as it has without them.

Obviously, I'd like to thank all my family and my extended family that's come in from all over the place; my billet family from Sudbury and everyone who's traveled here to the island from Boston," he said.

But McQuaid seemed to want to talk specifically to the young people in attendance and his words of wisdom came from a place that belied his youth.

"I just want to say that it was just a short time ago, I think seven years ago, I was just like anybody else in the crowd watching [fellow PEI native] Brad Richards have his celebration," said McQuaid.

"I guess I just want to say that regardless of what you're doing, whether it's hockey or whatever it might be, if you want something bad enough and you're willing to make a sacrifice and be determined to get there -- it may not happen overnight and there's going to be your ups-and-downs -- you can always make it happen if you truly believe it."

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POSTED ON Saturday, 08.27.2011 / 11:23 PM
By John Bishop - BostonBruins.com / Stanley's Travels

BostonBruins.com -- Boston Bruins Assistant GM Don Sweeney enjoyed a second day with Lord Stanley on Saturday when he brought the Cup to the town of St. Stephen in New Brunswick, Canada.

"St. Stephen will always be my hometown," said Sweeney to the hundreds of fans gathered at the town's Border Arena. "The turnout today is indicative of why that is true.

"The support for sports, the camaraderie, the family relationships [here] extend beyond...what this Cup represents for me as a player who grew up playing in this very arena.

"So, I'm very, very grateful for everybody's [support] today," he said.

Sweeney enjoyed support throughout St. Stephen throughout the day. From a parade that started near the Canada/USA border to the reception at Border Arena to his visit to the city's center the citizens of his home community made sure that the former B's player and current administrator felt very welcome.

But in many ways, Sweeney's return to his roots was a "thank you" to his parents.

"I have to take a few minutes to thank my mother and father Paul and Joanne for the countless hours, the day trips, the night trips and the overnight trips and the time that they spent shuttling my [rear] around to arenas just to provide an opportunity for me to play hockey," he said.

"I'm very, very blessed to have their support and my entire family's support.

"They should share in this day," added Sweeney of the extended family who joined him in the celebration.

As he did when he told BostonBruins.com about his day in Massachusetts, Sweeney saved special and high praise for his wife Christine (who won pairs gold at the 1988 Canadian Figure Skating Championships and who competed in the 1988 and 1992 Olympic Winter Games) and his twin boys Jarrod and Tyler.



"My wife, who understands probably better than anybody why I've chased that trophy right over there both as a player and now in management," said Sweeney to the gathered crowd. "It does take a lot of sacrifice, not just from the person [in the NHL], but from the person that has to stand in the background and she certainly doesn't need to do that.

"She's a champion in her own right in figure skating and I'm sure everyone here voted for her in Battle of the Blades, as well.

"But she's been a great partner through all this and she shares equally in the rewards of me being able to bring this back to share with each and every one of you."

Earlier in the summer, Sweeney said that having the Cup for a day brought "a real sense of reality to the accomplishment."

And now, the long time Bruins defenseman said he is enjoying the moniker of Stanley Cup champion.

"It has a really nice ring to it," said Sweeney to the crowd gathered in St. Stephen's town center. "It was a long time in coming for myself and the Boston Bruins organization and I want to say thank you to everybody involved in helping put this together and to share in this day.

"This is the roots to me -- where I started my hockey career -- and I felt compelled to...once I got a hold of that Holy Grail to be able to bring it back and share it with each and every one of you."

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POSTED ON Thursday, 08.25.2011 / 10:58 PM
By John Bishop - BostonBruins.com / Stanley's Travels

BostonBruins.com -- B's defenseman Steve Kampfer began today's interview about his Thursday with the Stanley Cup by thinking about the moments immediately following the Bruins Game 7 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

"It was an exciting time to receive the Cup and then take a victory lap," said Kampfer while wearing a wide grin in the visitors locker room of the University of Michigan's Yost Arena. "It was fun to get the picture and raise it up over the head for the first time.

"Then, to hand it off to somebody else Knowing what your team accomplished is amazing," he said.

For any true blue Michigan Wolverines fan, Kampfer's day with the Cup was a-MAIZE-ing as Steve made sure to bring Stanley back to Ann Arbor.

"I think with Michigan it was just one of those things," he said. "We started off with my trainer and then brought it -- I'll call it home -- because you spent so much time here at Yost.

"So you bring it back and get time to celebrate and spend time with the fans and the staff.

"I played here for four years and it was a defining time in my career," continued Kampfer. "So, I really wanted to bring it back here and give something back to Mott's hospital."



Kampfer spoke about the personal importance of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

"It touched home, for what my sister [Kristin] has gone through and to be able to give back to the hospital that helped save her and hopefully can save more kids," said Kampfer, who collected money for the medical facility and the Michigan hockey program while providing an opportunity for Michigan fans to get their picture taken with Steve and the Cup.

Kampfer's sister has undergone multiple procedures at the hospital and the family credits the staff there for saving her life.

"It was something that I've always wanted to do and I'm looking forward to making a little contribution to them," he said.

The combination of presenting the Stanley Cup to his University of Michigan family and fans along with his family friends in the state of Michigan was perfect for Kampfer.

"We get to go do this and take it home for a bit and do some more city things and get to have a family dinner and a little fun at night," said Kampfer.

And a little wrinkle in the Cup's schedule also left Steve with some time on Friday morning.

Kampfer knew exactly what he was going to do.

"A little golf!" said Kampfer. "I think I'm going to throw a little tour in there.

"I think it's going to be my ball marker for a little bit, so if I get inside of you, more than likely you're in trouble. You've got to putt around it.

"But hopefully I'm on, so we'll see," he said.

However, after the Cup hits the road on Friday, Kampfer is ready to turn the page and continue his preparations for the 2011-12 season.

"I've been skating for a little while now," said Kampfer. "So, I'm excited to get back and I'm excited to get going again. You know?

"This time of year you start getting the itch. Hockey's coming around and you want to get back.

"You want to put on that spoked-B and get on the ice and hopefully go for another great run."

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 08.24.2011 / 8:18 PM
By John Bishop - BostonBruins.com / Stanley's Travels

BostonBruins.com --
As he sat behind a desk for a press conference on the football field at his old high school in Davison, Michigan, B's goaltender Tim Thomas was asked about his visit home and the many laurels that were bestowed on him in recognition of his Stanley Cup heroics.

"No I didn’t think id have a bridge named after me I was pretty surprised when that happened," said Thomas of the naming of a local span and the keys to the city given in his honor on "Tim Thomas Day" in Davison.

"It’s pretty cool.

"And you know, in this area this high school -- obviously everyone’s high school -- has a big impact on their life," he said.

Throughout the day Thomas was reunited with some of the people who had a major impact on his career, including Tom Barrow, who coached Tim during his time at Davison High.

"He had a huge impact on the way the rest of my career turned out," said Thomas of trips with Barrow to local men's league games. "He was trying to teach me patience and not to go so far out of my crease.

"I think he somewhat failed at that," added Thomas with a knowing laugh. "But no, he was a great role model at that time in my life and someone to look up to."

And now, Thomas is pleased to be someone that kids look up to in terms of an example of hard work and perseverance.

"I’m happy if that’s what they’re taking out of it, that’s what I want them to take out of it," said Thomas. "You know, the Stanley Cup is awesome, but I think that’s a more important thing to focus on than the Stanley Cup or the Conn Smyth or the Vezina.

"It’s not the easiest of times, lets be honest, in the United States right now. There’s high unemployment in the younger generation and I think they need hope and they need to see that you know, that need to be inspired."



Thomas hopes that his own youthful dreams -- and his willingness to work for them to come true -- is something that is not lost on the kids who see him play and he thinks that work ethic was learned on the streets, rinks and schoolyards of Davison and Flint.

"I think the Midwest work ethic was highly instilled in me growing up. But I was also taught if you want something bad enough and you’re willing to work towards it that you can get it," said Thomas. "It’s kind of the American dream, so to speak, which I think some people have kind of given up on.

"But you know I’m proof that you still can and you know, if there’s anything that the younger generation watching here today, or that’s part of this, takes out of it is that its up to you.

"You can do nearly whatever you want if you’re willing to work hard enough and long enough at it."

And on Wednesday, Thomas worked long and hard at thanking those people who helped instill those values in him and who cheered him on along the way.

"I saw a lot of people I hadn’t seen in years and I actually in a certain way had even forgot that they had supported me and that they’d been there," he said. "I saw people I worked at Domino's Pizza with, delivering pizzas.

"I saw people that I played softball with and that were friends. It was great. I was nervous before this, I’m always nervous before these type of, well anything that centers around me like that.

"Once I got up there and saw all the people and so many that I recognized I felt happy that I was able to bring this day here, bring the Cup home," he said.

But Thomas also admitted that the planning of his day, which included stops at his church and high school and a private party with family and friends, was not all his doing.

"Well to be honest with you I was so zapped from that Stanley Cup run that I barely had the energy to plan anything," said Thomas. "My cousins Matt and Tammy stepped in and they did the majority of the grunt work for me and I appreciate that from them.

"They pretty much came up with the itinerary for the day and knowing how zapped I was -- I mean, winning the Stanley Cup takes more emotional, physical and mental energy than I would have ever believe.

"I mean I’ve been tired after seasons before but after this run, it’s a hard recovery. I've had lots of friends and family that have stepped in and...picked it up trying to help me out."

However, Thomas explained that the hectic schedule following the B's Stanley Cup win was part of the package.

"This is part and parcel of winning the Cup," said Thomas. "To be honest, its been overwhelming. The whole summer and...people's response to us winning this Cup and to me winning the Cup.

"I don’t think I eve mentally prepared or thought about the reaction that would come after. I was too busy doing it. But having said that its great to be honored like that, but that isn’t the reason I played.

"The reason I played is because I love to compete and I love to challenge myself to see how good I can be."

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 08.24.2011 / 3:04 PM

The guy hasn't changed
08.24.2011 / 3:04 PM ET

DAVISON, Mich. -- Tim Thomas is exactly the same guy as his high school coach Tom Barrow remembers him to be 19 years ago.

"He always had the talent and know-how, but what he needed was the patience," Barrow said from the football field at Davison High School, where Thomas was honored today. "I like to think I helped him with that, but he was always this kind of goaltender."

Barrow doesn't stay in touch with Thomas for very long as he retired as soon as Thomas graduated Davison in 1992. However, he has followed Thomas' entire career, the highs and lows, and said he cried with pride when the Bruins won the Cup.

"You think I cried," he quipped. "You bet I did. This guy makes me cry, that's all there is to it. To think I had an influence on him...wow!"

Barrow wasn't alone in his influence on Thomas.

Al Sumner was the senior goalie at Davison when Thomas transferred in as a sophomore. Sumner said the competition between him and Thomas wasn't always friendly as they pushed each other and tried to convince Barrow to they were worth the ice time.

"To say the two of us were best of friends when we were competing would be untrue," said Sumner, who still lives in Davison and owns a landscaping business. "You never wanted to see one do bad but we both wanted to play.

"The thing I can say to this day is that you watch him play now, the announcers key on how aggressive he is and how he stands up for himseld, how he doesn't need anyone else to cover his back -- when we were playing that's how he played. He was young and raw, but by the time he got out of here he refined it and learned how to use it to his advantage."

-- Dan Rosen



'We're very fortunate'
08.24.2011 / 12:54 PM ET

DAVISON, Mich. -- As you drive into the back parking lot at Davison High School, there is a sign honoring Ken Morrow for winning the gold medal at the 1980 Olympics and for being a Cup champion.

Davison will soon be hanging a similar sign honoring its other hockey hero, Tim Thomas.

"Oh, we've got one and we are giving him one," Davison Community Schools Superintendent Eric Lieske told NHL.com.

Lieske and his staff along with Matt and Tammy Thomas organized the public event at Cardinal Stadium to honor Thomas today. We are heading out there shortly.

Lieske said the town and its surrounding municipalities are thrilled Thomas chose to bring it home.

"It makes a statement that he cares about his hometown roots," said Lieske, who graduated from Davison High School in 1989, three years before Thomas turned the tassel on his graduation cap. "As an educator, that's how we want all of our students this school district. It's just a great story."

Several members of the current high school hockey team will be taking part in the program at the football stadium.

"They're fired up," Lieske said. "We had four of them here at 5 a.m. to do an interview with a local TV station."

Thomas is just finishing lunch and is going to make his way to the public event shortly. Traffic is building up around the school and Davison area.

-- Dan Rosen

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 08.24.2011 / 11:32 AM

Manning this amount of silverware isn't easy
08.24.2011 / 11:32 AM ET

DAVISON, Mich. -- Cup keepers Phil Pritchard and Howie Borrow literally have their hands full today. With the Stanley Cup, Conn Smythe and Vezina Trophies all in attendance with Tim Thomas, handling the hardware requires skill, grace and tact.

These guys wouldn't trade their jobs for anything, especially not today, not when it is for a classy player like Thomas.

"Obviously with Tim Thomas it's a special day. For a guy like Tim Thomas, as humble as he is, to have so much hardware, it's pretty amazing," Pritchard told NHL.com. "We were joking because we have a van full of silverware and there is a bus full of Thomases with six cop cars following us. If the people knew, especially the Red Wings fans knew what was in the van as it drove by ... it is quite a day. The Vezina, Cup and Conn Smythe -- how do you ask for more than that out of maybe the best goalie in the game?"

But the logistics of bringing three trophies in giant cases across the border is quite a task.

Pritchard and Borrow drove here from the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

"We always have to set up more time," Pritchard said. "You're crossing the border and they ask you citizenship, where you're going and you explain it to them. They ask you again because all of a sudden they realize it and it clicks in, 'What do you mean? What do you have in there?'

"You have that extra 20 minutes built in for the customs people and usually people are getting out of their cars," he added. "So, it causes a bit of havoc, but it just shows how much the game has spread. There are hockey fans everywhere. Here we are in the middle of August and they're stopping and pulling over to get photos."

Everyone else is raving, but the man of the hour seems as humble as ever. Pritchard, who has gotten to know Thomas well, said that's the real man behind the mask.

"First off, he's a goalie and they're a different breed. They've got to be patient and they've got to be calm, and Tim has all those attributes," Pritchard said. "You've seen him. He is what he is. When he takes that mask off, that's Tim Thomas. He's very calm, very quiet, very laid back.

"The focus is on him today but I don't think he wants the focus," Pritchard continued. "He wants to be part of it for sure, but I think he wants to be the team guy. But, it's all about Tim Thomas today whether he likes it or not. He earned it and his family and friends are coming out in droves to see it."

-- Dan Rosen


Conquering hero returns to his roots

08.24.2011 / 9:58 AM ET

DAVISON, Mich. -- Tim Thomas didn't move here until he was a freshman in high school, but he and his brother, Jake, consider Davison to be home. That's why we are here today.

"We moved a lot," Jake Thomas told NHL.com. "But, this is where we stayed the longest."

Thomas still has family here as his cousin, Matt, recently moved back to Davison with his wife Tammy and their children. Tammy Thomas helped organize this Cup day and will be hosting the private family party at her house this evening.

Thomas started his day in the parking lot of his alma mater, Davison High School. He met up with Cup keepers Phil Pritchard and Howie Borrow along with his entire family.

Thomas was his normal self - humble, reserved and friendly. He joked around with his kids (Kylie, Keegan and Kelsey) along with his nieces and nephews (Hunter, Hayden, Hudson and Hanna). He didn't take the Cup, Vezina or Conn Smythe out of the cases.

Davison is a quiet community, but with Thomas and his hardware in town today, it has become the place to be. In fact, Thomas and his family rode in a school bus between a police escort to his first stop, the Valley Church of Christ in Burton.

Cars pulled over as the motorcade passed by on the rural roads. Police were stationed at stop lights to make sure no one went on a green so the motorcade could get through. There was a camera crew waiting to film Thomas pulling into the church parking lot.

He is inside now for an invite-only event with the congregation. Thomas told me he knows "roughly 85 or 90 percent of the congregation, and a lot are family.

"Anybody that looks like my dad is in my family," he added.

Thomas wanted to bring it here because these people are close to him.

Thomas, who is taking pictures with the congregation, didn't start attending this particular church until after college, but he lived nearby during the offseason until he was 30 before moving to Colorado Springs.

They love him here and they even have a wall dedicated to his press clippings. The sign outside the church reads a welcome home to their Stanley Cup champion.

-- Dan Rosen

Not raining on his parade
08.23.2011 / 8:30 PM ET

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Even if it rains over Michigan on Wednesday, Tim Thomas should still have a shiny day.

The three throphies he earned are headed his way for him to celebrate with on his Cup day.

Of course, the Stanley Cup will be the star of the show, but coming along with the silver dream come true is the Conn Smythe and the Vezina. Thomas cleaned up with those individual awards as well as the Cup in June.

He is supposed to be starting his day at his church in his old hometown of Davison, Mich., which is just outside of Flint. Thomas is expected to hold an event there for a while before moving on to Davison High School for lunch and a public event. He will conclude with a party for family and friends.

There is likely more to the day than just that, and even all of the aforementioned itinerary is subject to change.

We will nevertheless be there the entire way, documenting Thomas and his day with his three new best friends.

Be sure to follow along.

-- Dan Rosen

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