Boston sports fans have had it pretty good over the last decade, with their four major sports teams each winning titles. But for my money, the Bruins winning the Stanley Cup is by far the most important to me. It’s the one major title Boston teams were missing since the title run began and the only one I used to lose sleep over when the team was eliminated from competing for it.
I am a die hard hockey fan, and always have been. My mother tells the story that when I was three years old knew the name of all the Bruins but didn’t know the names of all my aunts and uncles. I’m a little better at that now. And when I was three was the last time Boston won the Stanley Cup. I don’t remember it at all, but I’ve seen the videos of Johnny Bucyk skating the Cup around the ice at Madison Square Garden so many times it’s etched into my memory just as if I was there.
This time is different because I will never forget. Like every season in the past 25 or so I saw nearly every minute of every game. I watched some games off my DVR the days after they took place even though I knew the score and had read numerous news stories. I just had to see for myself. But unlike past seasons this one ended differently; not with heartbreak but with captain Zdeno Chara hoisting the Cup while emitting a primal scream that could be heard from Vancouver all the way to Boston.
Unlike many Red Sox fans when their team won in 2004 who made fun of the “pink hats” that had jumped on the bandwagon after their miracle comeback against the Yankees, I welcome the new fans into the fold. To me there’s nothing better in sports than playoff ice hockey, and if the Bruins playoff run converts some of these bandwagon jumpers into real fans it’s all good. And having upwards of 1.5 million people line the parade route to celebrate my team is something special too. Of course they’re also the reason there are no Stanley Cup champion hats around, but I’ll get one (or three) eventually. And for you new fans, you need to know one important bit of information: training camps open in about 110 days.
While fans are clamoring to get a good look at the Stanley Cup my wife and I have already had a close glimpse of the greatest trophy ever, at the 2009 AHL All-Star game. Both the Stanley Cup and Calder Cup (awarded to the AHL champion) were being displayed there, and friends of mine had the honor of driving the Stanley Cup and its escort, Mike Bolt, from Logan airport to Worcester where the game was held. After the All-Star game was over we were allowed to go behind the ropes and have our picture taken with it. The picture turned into our Christmas card for 2009.
My wife doesn’t know that much hockey, so when we were behind the ropes she started to reach out at touch the Cup as both Bolt and I both told her not to. Bolt told her not to so she wouldn’t get fingerprints on it. I told her not to because of the superstition that you don’t touch the Cup unless you’ve won the Cup.
Fair Warning Mr Bolt: if I ever get a next time, I’m touching The Cup.