Being a Boston Hockey Goon

Joe GillCorrespondent IIAugust 24, 2009

I have been a Bruins fan as long as I can remember. It may be due to my mother meeting Bobby Orr and Gerry Cheevers back in her youth, so I became a fan by osmosis. I remember drawing Pete Peeters as a brick wall with pads and a stick while I was in grade school. My black satin Bruins Varsity jacket was a staple during my High School years and still sits in my closet. A Bruins heirloom to be passed on to the next hockey generation.


I remember going into school after the Bruins lost in three overtimes to the Edmonton Oilers in Game 1 of the 1990 Stanley Cup Finals. Everyone looked like a scene from Dawn of the Dead. The halls were full of cranky and dejected Boston Bruins zombies. I still haven’t forgiven Glen Wesley for missing the open net which could have changed that series. Shoulda….woulda….coulda.


Back in the late 80’s and 90’s, the Bruins were like how the Sox are today. Everyone was in love with Cam Neely, Ray Bourque, Andy Moog, Reggie Lemelin and Lyndon Byers. You couldn’t get tickets unless you knew someone. Luckily, I did.


A friend of mine at Market Basket, had season tickets. My friends loved me because I had the “connection”.  I went to a dozen or so games at the Old Gahden. Not this TD Banknorth Fleetcenter corporate branding baloney. This was hockey at its finest, you were on top of the action, sitting in seats that couldn’t make a toddler comfortable. I saw the rats running on rafters. I watched Gordon’s field goal kick beat ND on a small TV above our seats. Oh the memories I have of the Old Garden!


As I grew older, my love for the Bruins grew as well. My friends, Steiner and Wilba (names have been withheld to protect the guilty) and I (My nickname is Girth….long story) became a beer drinking and hockey watching super trio, the Hockey Goons! We went to playoff losses vs. Washington (I still see the puck going by Dafoe) and Carolina in the late 90’s. Went to the OT winner versus the Canadiens in 2004 just to see the Bruins blow a 3-1 series lead after Glen Murray’s OT winner in Game 4. Oh yeah that was the first time that happened in team history. Thanks to Dave Shea for jinxing them!


Just recently, I went to the Bruins woeful game 2 series performance versus Carolina. There is nothing like a hockey victory at home and nothing worse than a hockey loss at home. The TD BankNorth Garden became a morgue.  After this game, the Bruins fell apart then rallied with their back against the wall 3 games to 1. They showed grit and tied the series up 3-3. Game 7 at home and momentum in their back pocket. Did it help them? Well no. They evidently haven’t read the “Dummies Guide to Winning Championships” that the Celts, Sox, and Pats have read over the past decade.


They went to OT tied in a Game 7. This is the true equivalent of hell on earth. Ever shot on net your heart goes in your stomach. Your heartburn acts up and acid is coming out of your nose. It’s truly torture.  I was in Jacksonville for business and watching the game with a few co-workers and a Canes fan.


The action was non stop but the Bruins playoffs dreams were dashed with a few minutes left in the first OT. The goon who suckered punch Aaron Ward won the game. It was salt in the wounds for sure. I had to wear a Canes jersey the next time I saw the Canes fan due to our pregame wager (well I got laid off by my company, so sorry buddy).The room cleared so fast you thought someone threw a stink bomb. Well in a way, it was a stink bomb that the Bruins laid in Games 2-4 against the Canes. I was finally at peace and went to sleep. Another fruitless year for the Boys with the spoked B, who haven't won the Cup since 1972. 

I cried when the Sox won the series (I am man to admit it), went nuts when Adam’s kick went through the uprights against the Rams, and cheered on the new Big 3 as they beat the hated Lakers. I don’t even know what I would do if the Bruins win the beloved Cup de Lord Stanley.


Move to a deserted island and eat papaya? Sob like a newborn (more than likely scenario)? Become a monk?



Well this Hockey Goon has more games to go to in 2009. He is looking forward to seeing a team with tons of talent battle for their first cup in 37 years.  This could be the year……


Joe Gill is a featured blogger for Boston Sports Then and Now and