I got off early from work this past Thursday, October 6th, and my fellow season ticket holder and I made our way to the Garden for the pre-game festivities. Thank goodness we did, as that was better then the game, which we lost to the Flyers 2 – 1. Boast all you want Flyers, but I’m still smiling at the Bruins sweeping you in four games in the playoffs and winning the Stanley Cup.
The pre-game “Fan Fest” was right outside the Garden in the team’s parking lot, though it only took up half of the parking lot:
To the left of this picture is the rest of the parking lot, and at the right edge near the bottom corner you can see the North Station T stop exit. They had various tents set up with Bruins alumni doing autograph sessions, raffles and giveaways. They had games like the bean bag toss, shooting on a “goalie”, etc. Plus the big screen that in the above picture is showing the Stanley Cup champions logo, but was showing game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. Every time the Bruins scored on the big screen, a cheer went up from the crowd.
After we got Réjean Lemelin to sign our jerseys, we got in line to see the various trophies the Bruins had won in the past season. They were on two tables under the large screen display. With the exception of the Stanley Cup, they were all there:
Seeing as how we got to get our picture with the Stanley Cup on Monday, this was a nice ending. From left to right: Wales Trophy, Vezina Trophy, me, Mark Messier Leadership Award, and the Conn Smythe Trophy. After seeing those trophies and awards, we went to get some eats in the North End. On our way to the eats, we saw all these uniformed personnel: cops, sailors, soldiers, etc who all had white hockey sticks. Turns out this was the start of the parade that we had heard was supposed to be begin at 4pm. As it was now 5:10pm we figure it was the end and we were wondering why they were still hanging around.
As we were getting our eats on, we saw on the teevee that the parade was starting. Starting? It was 5:45pm! What the blue blazes?!? After we finished our eats we headed back and tried to get a glimpse of the parade, but it was all over. All we saw were more uniformed people walking around with white hockey sticks. So we went back into the fan fest and got in line for Ken Linseman’s autograph. The fan fest was pretty well cleared out at this point, with most people heading in to be at their seats by 6:30 pm as the Bs had requested.
Though of course, the festivities didn’t happen until 7pm. A curtain had been dropped underneath the jumbotron. A large flag of the Stanley Cup with the Bs logo on it made its way around the loge. Sitting in our balcony seats we could see the top tip of the new championship banner inside while on the jumbotron played a summary of the playoffs from the first series against the Habs to the finals against the Canucks. On the curtain different pictures from the series were shown while around the Garden the flags of the players that were waved during the play offs once again waved and their names circled the the Garden’s display. As the almost tear producing video got to the part of Chara raising the cup at the end of game 7, the curtain surrounding the banner dropped revealing it to the crowd. The noise was incredible, flashes from cameras going off every where and everyone on their feet clapping.
The team then came out from the Zamboni entrance in their black and gold home uniforms and Chara with the cup in hand. The entrance had some sort of special lighting so it looked like they were coming through the championship logo, pretty neat. Chara raised the cup above his head and the crowd went nuts. Myself included. Then they started handing it from player to player. Each player got a chant of a name or a resounding thunder of applause – well, except some of the lesser known guys after Rask. The cup was then placed on a table near the banner and the team possed for a picture at center ice with the banner behind them while the surrounding the cup:
Awesome. Well, not my slightly blurry picture, but the team in black and gold surrounding the cup with the gold championship banner behind them at center ice. Then there was a series of speakers presented by Andy Brickley. Cam Neeley got the best response from the crowd, but followed closely by the response for the team captain, Chara. Team owner Mr Jacobs got some boos and some clapping – a very mixed bag from the crowd. Seems the crowd remembered the previous years of losses and crushed dreams for lack of spending. . .Whatever. I clapped as we finally had another championship.
Part of the Bruins from the 1972 Stanley Cup championship team came out to help move the banner from the spot at center ice to the spot were it would be raised to the rafters. Watching it be raised to the rafters, I thought I’d never see such a sight – let along have the chance to watch the Bs play a Stanley Cup finals game in the Garden. The raising of the rafter, the 2010 to 2011 seasons, being able to touch the cup and get a picture with it on two different occasions, the parade, all of it: just amazing. A season I’ll never forget. Thank you Boston Bruins. Thank you.