Fans from all over the Greater Boston Area came downtown to meet the players, get some autographs and enjoy the hockey atmosphere at the TD Garden.
Even before the gates opened, ticket holders anxiously awaited and lined up down Causeway Street, filling North Station with Black & Gold for the special event.
When the clock hit 6:00 p.m. fans of all ages entered onto the level four main concourse with jerseys, hockey sticks, Stanley Cup championship banners and all sorts of memorabilia. In addition to getting autographs, the fans had an opportunity to see the players up close and talk to them one-on-one.
Sitting down in their jerseys and jeans, the team was more than happy to get to know the people who give them such consistent and loyal support in a casual setting.
“We’re just here to show our appreciation,” said B's alternate captain Patrice Bergeron
. “Most of the time when we see them we’re on the ice; we don’t have the chance to interact with them.
"Now we have a chance to shake hands and say hi and sign some autographs. It’s fun.”
Patrice’s teammates agreed.
“It’s nice to mingle with them, get some feedback from them and sign some autographs for them,” explained Milan Lucic
. “It’s a lot of fun to see everyone.”
Matt, a 10-year old from Reading, MA, had the opportunity to meet his favorite B’s player, Bruins netminder Tim Thomas
“He’s a great goalie and I love how he saves everything,” Matt said with a smile.
Matt’s father shared how much it meant to him and his son that the B’s brought the Cup back to Boston for the first time in 39 years.
“I went to City Hall Plaza when they won it in ‘70 and ‘72, so it was spectacular. Especially to have my kid experience it [too], it was awesome,” he explained.
John and Jen from Lowell, MA are entering their second year as season ticket holders. last year, for John’s birthday, Jen surprised him with B’s season tickets and did it at the perfect time.
“I always said, ‘This is going to be the year,’" explained John. "And it was!”
“It’s unbelievable,” added Jen. "I grew up five minutes from here. We used to walk to the Old Garden, so this is just a long time coming."
Throughout the evening, this season's Black & Gold were shown that they have just as much support —- if not more — than last season's squad as they get underway with the 2011-2012 campaign as defending Stanley Cup champs.
“Everyone is happy and thankful and excited for this season,” added Lucic.