I was a senior at Boston College when they announced that the last event at the Boston Garden was going to be a preseason game between the B’s and the Hated Habs. I knew I had to be there, and would wait as long as I had to for tickets (this was before online sales). My mother called me to tell me when tickets were going on sale, even though I had already made my plans to get them.
My roommate Drew dropped me off at The Garden on his way into an early hospital shift. I wasn’t the first in line, but was close enough to be able to buy the maximum number I could. The next time I talked to my mom she asked me if I had gotten tickets, and I said, “Oh, I totally forgot!” She was relieved when I went home for a birthday dinner and flashed the tickets as soon as I walked in.
Just like I knew right away that I was going to get tickets for the Last Hurrah, I knew exactly who I was going to invite – anyone my family that could make it.
I spent most of my time before the game yelling at the Canadiens goalie Patrick Roy. I knew it was going to be the last time that I would be able to do it at “The Gahden”, and I was relentless. The picture of my brother Jon and I (lower left corner) was taken right after my Roy Ranting, just before we went to take our seats for the game.
Even though it was only a preseason game, everyone there knew it was something special. We even got to see Westboro, MA native Jim Campbell play for the Habs, who were beaten by the B’s 3-0.
After the game, former and current Bruins greats skated around the ice one last time. The most touching moment of all was seeing Bruins captain Ray Bourque leading Normand Leveille around the ice. It was no surprise that #4 (Bobby Orr if you’re not a hockey fan) was the last one off the ice – see picture in upper left corner of the collage.
When the final skate was over, my brother Jon and I did not want to leave. I think security asked us to leave a few times and when we came out of excuses, we knew we had to go. Jon came up with an idea that seemed fair – he said we’d count to 10 so we could both turn and walk away at the same time. It was tough to say goodbye to the Garden, but I’m glad I got to share it with Jon and I will never forget it.
A few months after the game, Jon asked me for my ticket. He wouldn’t tell me why he needed it, but this awesome collage was a Christmas present that year. Clockwise starting from Bobby Orr, there’s a Cam Neely card, Ray Bourque card, picture of Bobby Orr’s OT goal in 1970 (cut off by my scanner), Lyndon Byers, the Garden banners, Jon and I, and the ticket in the middle.
Bobby Orr’s overtime goal was a special time for my family. My brother Jon (first child and grandchild) had been born less than a week earlier on May 4th. On May 10th, my mom was celebrating her first Mother’s Day and got to watch the Bruins win the Stanley Cup. Happy Birthday Jon – I can’t say enough how lucky I am to have you as an older brother and hope the B’s do it again this year!