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Surprise in Saugus

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins

SAUGUS, MA — Boston General Manager Peter Chiarelli and Head Coach Claude Julien stopped by Hockeytown USA Thursday night in Saugus for some surprise quality time with two men’s over-30 hockey teams: Sound Decision and HSD.

"We had a great time," said Georgio of Revere, one of the local hockey players who participated in the game.

"It was good to see the esteemed management from Boston come down to watch us play, and I think we played as best we could for a bunch of old men — it was good.

"We enjoyed it."

The night opened with speeches from Chiarelli and Julien in the teams' locker rooms — words the players reflected on even after three tough periods of hockey.

"It was awesome," said David from East Boston. "To get the pep talk from a professional, it was unbelievable."

The Black & Gold personnel picked up on the player’s enthusiasm as they spoke about the evening with the media members who gathered on Route 1.

“I had a chance to talk with the teams before the game, and they seem to be having some fun out there,” said Coach Julien with a smile.

And for the two teams, a weekly tradition that was already special was elevated to a new level.

"We’ve been doing it for so long," said Kevin of Revere. "We just enjoy the fun out here."

That was the sentiment from everyone in Saugus, where the players take pride in Hockeytown USA — a true North Shore landmark for generations.

"They’ve been playing here for 50 or so years," said Mark from Nahant. "I’m only 34, this place was here way before I was born."

Beyond the surprise surrounding the visit from the current B’s staff, the evening brought back memories for the many amateur players who have always followed the Bruins.

“I started [going to the games] with my dad in 1972, back in the Bobby Orr days, the Phil Esposito days," explained Kevin from Revere. "I’m still a season ticket holder today”

To end the night, each player returned to his bag in the locker room to find B’s hats, shirts, Ice Girls posters, and other gifts from the team. But it's the memories that remained most important as all the skaters share a common love of hockey, and will continue to look forward to their weekly games — even sans the Bruins drop-in — explained Nick from Boston.

“I grew up with a lot of these guys,” he said. “It’s Wednesday nights for the past 10 years; can’t beat it.”

---Kim Dowd

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