Jim Thomson’s desire to help others during their darkest moments is fueled by the fact the former NHLer personally understands the strength and courage it takes to overcome addiction.
For more than a decade Thomson has helped hundreds of people in their personal struggles thanks to the NHL, which provided him with the platform to make it possible. He has held countless interventions and spoken at rehabilitation facilities and to hockey players from major junior to the professional ranks. “Giving these young people advice to help with their problems or addictions or what have you is what drives me,” said Thomson.
On November 17, Thomson marked his 13th year of sobriety. Thomson, who was a right-winger and enforcer, was drafted by the Washington Capitals in 1984 and went on to play 10 years professionally, eight of which were in the NHL. His career included playing alongside Wayne Gretzky.
The Great One was not only an incredible hockey player, Thomson recounts, he was a phenomenal person, too. “He was a better person and father than he was a hockey player,” said Thomson.
Thomson’s career is book-ended by drugs and alcohol during his youth and his post-hockey career. “I grew-up in a trailer park outside Edmonton called Westview Village. And I skated on the outdoor ponds, fell in love, was completely, you know, it was my addiction. It was my passion.”
Those cold -30 to -40 Degrees Celsius winter days could stretch for weeks at a time in Alberta, he said, but that never stopped the young hockey player from shooting pucks outside until his mother called him inside and his fingers and toes were frozen. “Just to give you a little history nothing would stop me from going outside and doing what I loved to do [and the] cold didn’t matter,” said Thomson. “So, became a very good hockey player, unfortunately got into drugs and alcohol at 12-years-old, got out of it at 13.”
Thomson said he grew-up in an alcoholic environment because both of his parents were alcoholics who died of the disease, and he had brothers who took drugs. “I got the bug early-on. Then in my post-career I hit rock bottom and went in a black hole, smoking crack cocaine, you know, oxycontin, lots of alcohol,” he said. “And basically blew-up my life, blew-up my family you know, lost everything.”
Thomson will be at Salle Blanche in Petit-Rocher on November 24th where he will deliver his presentation Career Killers to Acadie-Bathurst Titan players, staff, and members of the public. The presentation is “very powerful,” said Thomson. “I will plant seeds with the guys and let them know one mistake they will screw their lives up.”
If anyone is interested in buying tickets for Thomson’s presentation November 24th, please contact Bryannah James at email@example.com or by phone, 506-549-3229. Tickets are limited.