Gill kicked things off by heading back to his alma mater, Nashoba Regional High School in Bolton, MA, to give the greatest number of revelers possible the chance to check out the Cup in person.
“Everyone was really excited to have the Cup here,” affirmed Thomas E. O’Brien, the school’s athletics director. “The players only get to have it for a few hours so the fact that he chose to bring it here and share that with us is something special.”
For a donation of $10, residents of the town of roughly 5,000 had the chance to take a photo with the Cup and, of course, the Habs’ new No. 75 himself.
“There were a ton of people there. Hal was really gracious – he even stuck around longer than scheduled to make sure everyone who made their way out here got their chance to see the Cup,” added O’Brien.
The $5,000 collected during the afternoon will be put towards helping renovate the sports and recreation complex at the school, primarily by replacing the current track with a new synthetic field.
Though Bolton is just 30 minutes from Boston and the majority of its residents may be Bruins fans, there was no animosity to be found about the 6-foot-7 blue-liner’s decision to join the archrival Habs.
“It’s impossible for us to dislike Hal. He’s one of our own – one of our former students – and we’re extremely proud of everything he accomplished here and everything he’s accomplished since he graduated,” confirmed O’Brien.
Gill roamed the halls of Nashoba from 1989 to 1993, where he excelled at almost every sport. His prowess in football, basketball and baseball even helped the former high school all-star earn himself a spot in the school’s Hall of Fame.
“The ceremony was all set to take place on June 14,” explained O’Brien, who was forced to postpone the event until next year. “Unfortunately, what I hadn’t accounted for was that Hal would be facing off for Game 7 of the Cup Finals that day!”Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com
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