So on Sunday night, Long Island native and die-hard Bruins supporter Dave Tajerstein joined fellow Boston fans at the State Room for the second Boston Bruins Casino night presented by JetBlue Getaways.
Black & Gold fans who purchased general admission tickets had the opportunity to play cards and casino games with Bruins players, while those who purchased VIP tickets also had the opportunity to mingle with players in the lounge an hour before the event.
"I was at the 1972 Cup, that was my first memory when I was five years old in the Garden – I've been a big Bruins fan ever since," Tajerstein said. "It's an amazing event here. All the players have been great – very friendly.
"It's a great charity event and we hope it runs every year."
Wilmington native Kimberly Peterson attended the event last year, but this year marked her first VIP experience at Casino Night.
"It's wonderful, we actually talked to Shawn Thornton
for quite a while," Peterson said. "We weren't rushed and you could take your time.
"[The team is a] very nice group of men."
Much like the fans, Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas
enjoyed getting to meet the fans not just during the VIP experience, but throughout the entire event.
"It's unique, we play in front of a lot of these fans on a continuous basis," Thomas said. "They see us, and in some cases we see them in the stands, but we don't get a chance to shake hands and say hi and a night like tonight gives us that kind of opportunity."
Throughout the night, there was also a live auction and silent auction that gave fans a chance to win various prize packages.
All proceeds from the event, including the admission, benefited the Boston Bruins Foundation.
"The favorite part for every body is that at the end of the day every body goes home happy," the foundation's Director of Development Bob Sweeney said. "That's what we look forward to – to make sure everybody has a good time and tonight has the makings to have a good time."
The entire event was fun for forward Milan Lucic
, right from the second he stepped out of the elevator and onto the 33rd floor of the State Room.
"It started off real cool because we're real high up and it has a great view of the city," Lucic said, who played blackjack throughout the evening. "[The event] is a great thing for charity and it's a lot of fun.
"We get to interact with fans on a different level and on a different basis and that's what makes this night real cool for us."
For Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference
, who admitted he's not a big gambler, said the atmosphere was the greatest aspect of the event.
"I'm the guy who goes to Vegas and I'd be adventurous to put 50 bucks down," Ference said. "You see people [at the event] let loose and have fun.
"It's just more relaxed...and you appreciate that because you can just loosen up the tie and be yourself [around the fans.] "---Anthony Gulizia