Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 06/22/11 at 12:26 PM ET
from Brian Cazeneuve of Sports Illustrated,
In the front of the lead duck boat, Tim Thomas Sr. recalled the boy who would ask his father to toss him footballs near the backyard bushes outside their Flint, Mich., home so he’d have to dive into them to make a catch. “It was more of a challenge that way,” the junior Thomas says. He would even attempt to make diving catches in the street until the day he collided with a slow-moving car. Yes, thanks, just a scrape. Oh, and how is your Buick?
In 1980 a five-year-old Thomas watched goaltender Jim Craig play beyond his means to lead Team USA to its Miracle on Ice victory over the Soviet Union and, with a win over Finland two days later, the Olympic gold medal. “From then on,” says Thomas, “I wanted to be a goalie.” Within a few years Tim Sr. and his wife, Kathy, had pawned their wedding rings for $300 so they could send Tim to a peewee tournament. The father sold cars and, later, local produce, and at 16 the son went door-to-door peddling bushels of apples. “He was determined to be the best at that too,” says Tim Sr., 57. “Sometimes if people wouldn’t answer the door, he’d peek around the back to go find them. He’d sell about five bushels and make $40, and he’d stay out until he made it.”
In his yearbook at Davison (Mich.) High, Thomas was dubbed Rip Van Winkle because he could sleep through classes yet still maintain an A average, frustrating teachers by having the right answer when they woke him up.
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