... and after more than 50 years I still love it.
I'm a hockey fan. Let me qualify that - I am a Bruins fan. And I am very disappointed that there will probably be no hockey season this year.
I started going to hockey games during high school in the 1940's when the Melrose High School hockey team played in the GBI League with seven other teams. Every Saturday we saw four games at the old Boston Garden. And I loved it. Probably because I was such a klutz on skates I was fascinated by the speed and skill of the players.
In the early 1950s a few of us who rode the B&M train to work in Boston every day decided to go to a Bruins game. We were hooked. Others joined us. We got season tickets and until the old Boston Garden was torn down we occupied Section 99, Row C, Seats 5-12, although by that time we were down to four.
There was no problem getting season tickets back then - the Bruins were in sixth place in a six-team league. You paid for the first three tickets of the season and the last three to keep your seat, which assured your playoff tickets. Tickets for games had to be picked up 24 hours ahead or they would be put into the general sales. If you couldn't go you did not have to pick up your ticket.
The players did not wear helmets or masks and they had numbers on the backs of the shirts and no names. As each team played in each arena six times we did not need names. We saw great games and all the hockey legends of those days. We cheered and booed, screamed and hollered, and got rid of all our frustrations. We were there the night the lights went out in the Garden, for the longest overtime game ever played (we lost) and the B&M and MBTA held their last trains so we could get home and, of course, when Bobby Orr flew through the air to secure the Stanley Cup. (I can still remember the suit I had on at that game.)
We went on several trips to see the Bruins play, Montreal, Toronto, San Francisco, Los Angeles, but the most exciting one was the trip to Russia to see Team Canada play Team Russia and I'm planning an article about that trip for the next issue.
By 2000 my friend Maureen and I were the only ones left of the group and, as usual, we hardly ever missed a game. Then came the lockout for the 2004-2005 season. During that year Maureen had a stroke and eventually died as a result. I gave up the two season tickets and, though not as avid as I had been for over 50 years, I still follow them.
November 2, 2012