Fans React To Bruins' Stanley Cup Win

Originally published on June 17, 2011 10:58 am
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MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

They are cleaning up today in Vancouver. Last night, disappointed hockey fans rioted, sending nearly 150 people to hospitals with injuries and leaving downtown streets littered with debris and broken glass.

(SOUNDBITE OF RIOT)

BLOCK: Looters were seen fleeing with everything from make-up to a store mannequin. Police then moved in with riot gear and tear gas.

(SOUNDBITE OF RIOT)

SIEGEL: Vancouver's Mayor, Gregor Robertson, blamed the violence on a small number of hooligans.

GREGOR ROBERTSON: It's absolutely disgraceful and shameful and by no means represents the city of Vancouver. We've had an extraordinary run in the playoffs here, great celebrations, and what's happened tonight is despicable.

SIEGEL: A Facebook group called Post Riot Clean-Up, Let's Help Vancouver, attracted more than 14,000 members this morning.

BLOCK: Of course, the scene was very different last night in Boston. The Bruins, one of the NHL's original six teams, won their first Stanley Cup since 1972. And as Curt Nickish of member station WBUR reports, fans there couldn't be happier.

(SOUNDBITE OF CELEBRATION)

CURT NICKISCH: The sports bar The Four's outside the Bruins' arena gets its name from the number four of Bobby Orr's jersey. He led the Bruins to their last two Stanley Cups back in the 1970s. And beneath framed and fading jerseys of that era, people wore bright black and gold ones to cheer on today's team. When the Bruins scored, you could feel the place shake.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

NICKISCH: The Bruins were winning the way Bruins teams have always won: by playing hard-nosed hockey, scrapping out goals like the headfirst slide that put the Bruins up three to zero. That's when Ken Molino and Eddie Poulin realized it was actually going to happen. They're both from Nahant, Massachusetts, where Bobby Orr lived when he played in Boston.

KEN MOLINO: You never thought it was going to happen again. They never - I mean, they've just broken your heart so many fricking years.

EDDIE POULIN: And we've been waiting a long time. A lot of these kids tonight, they've only been following them for 10 years, 15 years. But we've been waiting a long time to have it back in Boston.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

NICKISCH: When the final seconds ticked to zeros and the Bruins hoisted the Stanley Cup for the first time in 39 years, people poured out of the bars into moonlit streets like sand spilling from a broken hourglass.

JESSE SKLARZ: Just everyone singing and dancing and crowd-surfing, it's unbelievable.

NICKISCH: Jesse Sklarz just shook his head, playoff beard and all, knowing that his blue-collar Bruins are the best.

SKLARZ: There isn't a better team to represent Boston, in my opinion as far as hard-working, you know, just like, grind-it-out hockey, you know what I mean. Now the Red Sox, we've got all the big bats now, football we've got Brady, but the Bruins, it's all, you know, it's a bunch of no-names. And we finally did it. It's unreal.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

NICKISCH: Unreality is what Boston fans woke up to this morning. Their major sports teams have now won an incredible seven championships in 10 years.

TOM COLLINS: What do I press, that right there?

NICKISCH: This morning, bleary-eyed fans beamed for pictures in front of a statue of Bobby Orr. One fan was wearing the championship hat he bought before he had his first coffee.

COLLINS: It's a blur right now.

NICKISCH: Boston is still a hockey town, says Tom Collins, that's also the home to the Red Sox, the Celtics and the Patriots.

COLLINS: Whether it's hockey, football, basketball or baseball, we got the best sports town in the world. We proved it last night, completed the cycle so to speak.

NICKISCH: For NPR News, I'm Curt Nickisch, in Boston. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.