Bill Beaney once tried to recruit Tim Thomas!!

It was in the summer of 1993, at a US Olympics Sports festival in San Antonio, Texas, and Middlebury HC Bill Beaney was coaching the team whose goalie was a young Tim Thomas. At the time, Thomas was just 19 years old and a recent graduate of Davison High School in Michigan, who was seeking to find his way in the hockey world by landing a spot on the US World Juniors team. Beaney’s attempt to recruit Thomas for Middlebury occurred  just before the Panthers started their epic run of five NCAA championships in a row (1995-99). It’s unclear how serious Beaney was in his attempt to bring Thomas to Middlebury but he did help sell Thomas to the UVM head coach (Mike Gilligan), which is where Thomas ended up playing college hockey. For those of you who have wiped Tim Thomas from your memory banks, he was a late bloomer, who did not make the NHL until age 28 after bouncing around European hockey and did not become a starter until age 32, at which point his career exploded, with two Vezina trophies (2009 and 2011) and a Conn Smythe trophy for a spectacular performance in leading the Boston Bruins to their first Stanley Cup in 40 years (2011). After that success, age and controversy quickly caught up with Thomas as his career fizzled out, marred by head scratching behavior like a leave of absence in 2012-13 and aggressive association with the Tea Party political movement (highlighted by his refusal to attend an event at the White House with President Obama honoring the Boston Bruins’ 2011 Stanley Cup) and strange posts on Facebook.

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