Cup of Joe: Memoirs Of A Bruins Groupie

Cam Neely always took time out for the fans at Ristuccia Arena.

Cam Neely always took time out for the fans at Ristuccia Arena.

It was the early 90’s, hair metal was on its deathbed and grunge was emerging from the musical murky soup.

I was a high school student at Wilmington High.

I had hockey hair(aka mullet).

I lived in Wilmington, the same town that the Boston Bruins held their training camp and in season practices.

It was my rink of dreams.

Ristuccia Arena.

They built it and I came.

I was and still am a die hard Bruins fan.

I had the shiny black coat with the golden spoked B.

I played street hockey and played goalie because I was a huge fan of Andy Moog.

I had an Adam Oates jersey because I was unselfish like him and rather set up the goal than take all the glory.

I admired Cam Neely and Ray Bourque for their leadership, intensity, and desire.

And I never forgave Glen Wesley for missing the empty net in Game 1 of the 1990 Stanley Cup Finals versus Edmonton.

I bled Black and Gold.

So, I became a regular fixture outside the Ristuccia Arena.

These were my heroes.

The Bruins were the talk of the town years before the Patriots and Red Sox took Boston’s center stage.Cup-of-Joe8-300x290

My friends and I set up stings outside the locker room door that fed out to the players’ parking lot.

Who would we get a glimpse of?

Andy Moog was leaving practice. He was my favorite player at the time. Moog was a solid goaltender that led the B’s to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1990.

There were about four people waiting outside to get a picture or autograph with their favorite Bruins player.

I asked Mr. Moog for his autograph and a picture.

What came next broke my hockey heart.

He replied, “I am in hurry, kid.”

As a teenager who was star stuck, I couldn’t believe my net minding superhero didn’t want to take three minutes to make an adoring fan happy.

I got his autograph and a picture with him.

Unfortunately, I smiled and Moog scowled like he just saw his dog get hit by a truck.

Other players were also not as cordial.

Shawn McEachern was another player that didn’t understand that he was in the “customer service” business as well as the hockey playing business.

The local kid that made it to the NHL couldn’t take out the time to make some fans happy.

Dmitri Kvartalnov, the Russian sniper and member of the famed “Bonzana” line with Joe Juneau and Adam Oates, was also not Mr. Nice Guy when it came to the Bruins Backers.

Not sure if he just didn’t understand our requests due to the language barrier or he just hated democracy.

There were only a few bad apples playing for my beloved Bruins.

Ray Bourque was a top notch class act. He always took out time for the few Bruins groupies standing outside with their sticks, jerseys, and sharpies.

He probably signed autographs for me at least six times before he hopped into his ultra cool BMW.

He may have filed a restraining order on me because I could be a borderline stalker, but I rather use the term, groupie.

As a teenager, Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington was my rink of dreams.

As a teenager, Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington was my rink of dreams.

I made Cam Neely laugh when I called him the “New Million Dollar Man” fresh off signing a blockbuster contract with the Bruins.

My friend and I were at Ristuccia when Craig Janney made his return to Boston, but now as a member of the St. Louis Blues. A local TV channel was there and captured our hands getting autographs from the former Bruins pivot man.

I thought that fame would have paved a path for me as a successful hand model, but no dice.

On a rainy day, LB (Lyndon Byers) asked my buddy and me if we would roll up the windows and lock up his Jeep Wrangler.

He threw us the keys. We were like giddy little school girls. I think we both screamed, “Oh My Gawwwwdddd!”

We locked up the Jeep as requested and gave Mr. Byers his keys. He said thanks and closed the locker room door.

My friend and I felt like the two kids that weren’t picked to play kickball in gym class.

No autograph?

No picture?

No stick?

Nothing?

Well if the players didn’t give us a stick, we would go dumpster diving?

Dumpster diving, you ask?

It is the art of fishing around a trash receptacle for shattered hockey sticks.

We would take the broken timber/fiberglass of our favorite player (I think I got the runts of the litter. Sorry David Shaw and Shayne Stevenson!), cut off the broken blade, and slid a brand spankin’ Mylec street hockey blade on it.

It was out little piece of Bruins history.

At Ristuccia Arena, you had the good (Adam Oates, Neely, Bourque), the bad (Moog), and the ugly (Bruce Shoebottom was one scary looking dude!) when it came to Bruins players.

However, I wouldn’t trade those moments in for the world. My hockey heroes that appeared on my small color TV, larger than life, were human. They took out time to make small talk and sign a battered, dirty Bruins cap (which I still have) for an adoring fan.

They gave me all these memories that I am sharing with all of you 18 years later.

Because Black and Gold is for life.

Joe Gill is a featured blogger for Boston Sports Then and Now, Rootzoo.com and Trufan.com

10 comments

  • Cheers for this informative blog post. I would like to come back in the future. Thanks again

  • Neat blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from
    somewhere? A theme like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my blog shine.

    Please let me know where you got your design. Thanks

  • Syabib collapsed bloody because her legs was hit and slammed by ‘Uwaimir from
    Chadhramaut. Article 21 of our Constitution says that noperson’s life can be taken away without procedure established
    by law. From my perspective, walking my clients through
    the process of letting go and moving on, people suffer most terribly when they realize their dreams of what owning
    a home should be are not the reality of what it has become for themselves.

    I turned my anger toward my husband and directed lots of judgments against him.

  • I am truly grateful to the owner of this web site who has shared this impressive piece of writing at at this place.

  • Heya! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers?
    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing
    many months of hard work due to no back up. Do
    you have any methods to stop hackers?

  • Today, while I was at work, my sister stole
    my apple ipad and tested to see if it can survive a 25 foot drop,
    just so she can be a youtube sensation. My apple ipad is now broken and she has 83 views.
    I know this is completely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  • Hello! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers?

    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing several weeks of
    hard work due to no back up. Do you have any
    methods to stop hackers?

  • New York-based journalist David Yanofsky recreated the Apple range because of increased hits,
    which is almost too good. The word NO, and absorbing sales
    techniques and modern practices as well as this week, the Sunday Timesreported.

  • Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any widgets I could add to my blog that
    automatically tweet my newest twitter updates. I’ve been looking for a plug-in like
    this for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something
    like this. Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly
    enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.

  • fantastic issues altogether, you just received
    a brand new reader. What would you suggest about your publish that you just made some days ago?
    Any positive?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *