TAMPA, Fla. - I see two distinctly different, joyous emotions on the face of Dr. Tim Bain as I talk to him via Zoom. There is the joy of being a part of the Lightning's incredible journey to the Stanley Cup championship and there is the equal joy of finally being reunited with his family after 65 days in the isolation bubble in Toronto and Edmonton.
Dr. Bain is in his 10th season as the Bolts' team chiropractor. He helps keep players' bodies and careers aligned.
He also has a strong hockey background.
He grew up in Canada and was introduced to the sport by his father. Tim was just two and a half at the time, but it set him on a lifelong pursuit that ended up with Lord Stanley's Cup in his arms.
For the first time in league history, the NHL held the Stanley Cup Final in sequestered venues, both in Canada, and both without fans in the stands.
The bubble was designed to keep layers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic and allow the teams to play for a championship.
It may never happen again and the Lightning won the most coveted cup during the most challenging season.
Dr. Bain was initially hesitant to leave his family, and also his private practice, for such a long period of time.
He is the CEO of B3 Medical in Wesley Chapel, specializing in body maintenance and pain management; perfect skills for a hockey doctor whose patients are in a constant cycle of competition and decompression.
"I was nervous," Dr. Bain recalled. "I don't like being away. I like being with my kids and wife. She knows my dream. She's been there all along, she's a hockey person she's from Minnesota. She said, 'Of course you're going.' I said, 'I don't know if I can do it.' She said, 'Yeah but we'll be OK.'"
Tim Bain roomed right next door to Steven Stamkos in the bubble. He witnessed the Lightning's captain will himself onto the ice for Game 3 of the Final. Stamkos had missed the entire postseason up to that point dealing with injury.
Stamkos not only got into the action, but he scored a goal that dramatically tilted the series in favor of the Lightning.
"It's starting to bring tears to my eyes already," Dr. Bain continued. "He put in so much hard work. Everyday. And he was truly inspirational to the team. I don't think anybody could understand unless they know how hard he worked .Him getting on the ice, even if it was only for a short period of time, and then scoring that goal... I'm getting chills now.It was a really cool moment to be a part of."
The entire Bay Area shares in that sentiment. But only a few select members of the Lightning team and organization were there when it happened. Dr. Tim Bain was one of the few. And he's shared the moment with all of us.