Guest article by Hockeygrampy
The year was 1970…were you even born yet? I would suggest that many of you were not… Gasoline was just $0.36 cents a gallon, a first class stamp was $0.06 cents, you could buy a dozen eggs for $0.62 cents while a gallon of milk was $1.15! The president of the United States was Richard M. Nixon and the Dow-Jones average was at 842.
Well, I was a tender 27 years old in 1970, married with no children yet, but my wife was expecting our first child in September. She was working as a book keeper in Boston and we lived in a small town on the North Shore, I’d say about 8 to 10 miles north of the city. I was busy planning how to support a family and was a new business owner who had purchased a small flower and gift shop in Malden, Massachusetts (oddly-enough in the city where we were both born and raised).
Well, at that age and working steadily trying to grow my business and with a wife who was also earning an income, I felt that I had it made! We didn’t spend much money as my wife was a “spend-thrift” and was determined to make sure we lived within our means. We had only one “vice” and that was season tickets to the Boston Bruins!
In May of the same year, I had been planning for a busy weekend for a long time and worked diligently to make sure I got everything done and delivered before noon that day. Why? Well the date was May 10th, “Mother’s Day”. It was a busy day for a florist; trying to make sure all the deliveries to every mom were completed because this was also a very special day for another reason… It was the day of the fourth game of the Stanley Cup final game between the St Louis Blues and the Boston Bruins at Boston Garden. And yes, we had tickets in hand! But what we didn’t realize was what this day would mean to the Boston Bruins, to the National Hockey League and the fame that would come to one very special Bruins defenseman, Robert Gordon Orr.
It was a short drive into Boston, taking perhaps 12 to 15 minutes. Just a drive up Main Street, through Everett and on into Boston proper. We found a parking spot about two blocks away and after a short walk to Causeway Street, we filed into our seats in section #114. Our specially-chosen seats were in the first balcony overlooking the blue line where the Bruins enjoyed their offensive zone in the first and third periods. This area allowed us to see two-thirds of their offense. It also enabled us to see the Bruins bench directly across the rink. We had the best seats that we could afford. This was “sport’s heaven” and we were having the time of our life!
The Garden was warm that day. We were all a bit sweaty and the arena just couldn’t seem to handle the 13,909 fans and the sweltering spring heat of the day. The Bruins led 3 games to none at this point, beating the Blues twice in St Louis and once in Boston. But after three periods of hockey, the score was tied: Bruins 3 and Blues 3. The shots were also even at 31 a piece. The coaches (Scotty Bowman for the Blues and Harry Sinden for the Bruins) had played their teams perfectly and heading into overtime, it was anybody’s game!
The play quickly developed in front of us as Orr swooped up ice with Derek Sanderson on the right wing. What we didn’t realize was that this would be the last play of the day and what turned out to be the last play of the 1970 Stanley Cup finals.
It was a “give-and-go” to Sanderson who flew behind Glen Hall from the right wing. And with a lightning-fast wrist shot, he sent the puck back to Orr as he was streaking across the crease (from Hall’s left to his right). Bobby promptly buried the shot behind the stunned goalie. Plager’s stick quickly came up under Orr’s skates and Bobby went flying through the air, arms outstretched and his screaming mouth open wide! We had just witnessed “The Goal”!
Frankly, the rest of the afternoon is a complete blur to me… It seems that we stood, screamed and applauded “forever”! I have no idea what time it was when we left Boston Garden that day. I can only conger-up the images of the Stanley Cup being carried overhead, players hugging each other and posing for pictures endlessly! It was hot, it was smoky, it was hazy in the Garden, but nobody cared! Everyone was just enjoying this moment in history!
Now it is 2008. The month is October and the weather here in Georgia is balmy. The baseball playoffs are in full swing. But this only means that hockey’s opening day is upon us. I miss being in Boston! But times change and life moves on. I now have four grandsons, two by Kimberly who was born just four months after that famous May 10th event back in 1970 and two grandsons by Meredith, who was just two years behind Kim in 1972.
I still have my Stanley Cup “Boston Bruins” program from that steamy day in May, 1970. There is also a 16 x 20 black & white framed and autographed photo of “the goal” hanging on the wall behind my desk! Its plaque reads, “Bobby Orr scores the Stanley Cup winning goal on May 10, 1970″. It serves as a friendly reminder of the day spent in Boston when history was made. And my Stanley Cup program will stay with me until I pass it on to my grandkids!
Just when you think you’ll be seeing just another hockey game….who knows….perhaps history will be made that day. You just never know!
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