VANCOUVER – Throughout the Stanley Cup Final, Bruins coach Claude Julien mentioned the support he was getting from New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers and Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona, all of whom have won at least one championship in the past decade.
Wednesday night, Julien joined that title fraternity with Boston's 4-0 win against Vancouver in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Arena.
"At least I'm getting in their category, right?" Julien said, joking. "You talk about Bill Belichick coming in to support us. It was so uplifting for our hockey club. Doc, who I see so often in the hallway (at the TD Garden), said the same things to me."
"What they went through during the year, we had some little slumps, we were second-guessed. People didn't think we could do it, but we stayed the course. Never did they let that get in our way." --Claude Julien
The Patriots last won a Super Bowl in 2004, the Red Sox most recently captured a World Series crown in 2007 while the Celtics last won an NBA title in 2008.
"I've had support from all the coaches in the Boston area and that means a lot to a coach who hadn't won – those guys are all champions and I really wanted to join that group," Julien continued. "Now I can at least say I have a championship underneath my belt."
In his eighth season as an NHL head coach and with his third different team, Julien can now call himself a Stanley Cup champ. But it wasn't an easy road to get there.
"What they went through during the year, we had some little slumps, we were second-guessed," said Julien. "People didn’t think we could do it, but we stayed the course.
"Never did they let that get in our way. We had some challenges in the first round against Montreal in the first round losing the first two games at home. We lost the first two games against these guys here, but never quit. That's what I'm most proud of."
On top of the tough road on the ice, many believed if Julien couldn't get over the hump of the Montreal Canadiens in the first round that he would be fired in the summer.
At the podium, with his five-year-old daughter Katryna sitting in the next seat, Julien responded to the earlier criticism.
"As a coach, you're going to be the subject to criticism, but the most important thing is what's going on inside that dressing room," Julien said. "There wasn't a guy that didn't believe in what we were doing so it's easy to stay the course.
"Today, you're rewarded for it."
Added Game 7 hero Patrice Bergeron: "We believe in Claude and we always believed in the system. It works, and that shows right now that we're hoisting the Stanley Cup. We always believed in him and he has always believed in us. That's what this team is all about."
After a tough seven-game series with the Canadiens, the Bruins swept the defending Eastern Conference champion Philadelphia Flyers in four games earning a date with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The conference final was another seven-game battle with the Lightning with the Bruins advancing, thanks to a 1-0 win in Game 7.
After this Game 7 blanking of the Canucks, Julien was happy to finally give the fans of Boston a Stanley Cup championship -- the city's first since 1972.
"We love our fans and for fans that have been supporting us for a long time," he said. "We know it's been since 1972. They're dying for a hockey championship team and we've finally been able to deliver that for them."