VANCOUVER - It took him more than half a century, but Tom McVie finally kissed the Stanley Cup on Wednesday night.
For the Bruins scout, who is based in Vancouver, and a number of Boston players, celebration time also spelled redemption time following their 4-0 victory over the Canucks in the seventh and deciding game of the finals.
“I didn’t get there as a player, I didn’t get there as a coach, I won a World Hockey (Association) championship as a coach. That was exciting – but nothing like this,” said McVie, 76.
McVie toiled as a minor-league winger between 1954 and 1973 but never cracked the NHL. During his coaching career, he had to deal with the trials and tribulations of the expansion Washington Capitals, then Winnipeg Jets after they joined the NHL following the merger with the WHA. The Jets lost players from their championship WHA team to their former NHL clubs after the merger.
He also guided a woeful New Jersey Devils team that he describes as just “terrible” before Lou Lamiorello’s successful tenure as general manager began.
“I had the reputation as an expansion team rah-rah, hustle kind of coach,” said McVie. “I took a wrong turn in my life. But I’ve been in the game 55 years now. I must have done something right.”
If he gets the chance to spend time with the cup, McVie will take it to his wedding July 9. He is getting married for the second time after his first wife Arlene, to whom he was married 50 years, passed away.
The Trail, B.C., native said the Stanley Cup victory comes while he is starting a new life.
Meanwhile, Boston players also basked in the satisfaction of overcoming past heartbreak. Goaltender Tim Thomas, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the playoffs, said the title made up for losing out on a gold medal with the U.S. Olympic team and watching the 2010 post-season because of a then undisclosed hip injury that required off-season surgery.
“It’s a dream to be here and it’s a dream come true – just like it is for everybody on our team,” said Thomas. “You know, I’m 37. This may have been my only shot at it. …
"One of the biggest disappointments that I’ve ever had was in the Olympics. But now I’ve had one of the biggest thrills I’ve ever had, which is winning the Stanley Cup."
Defenceman Tomas Kaberle basked in the glory of the Stanley Cup after missing the playoffs for five straight seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs before joining the Bruins at the trade deadline.
"I’m relieved," Kaberle said. "I love the game and this is what you play for. We play for the Stanley Cup."
He said the NHL crown also helped atone for not winning gold medals while playing in the international arena.
“I never did it,” said Kaberle. “Now, this is the best for me so far – and I’m going to enjoy it.”
The Bruins were also happy to win for Nathan Horton, who was sidelined in Game 3 on a hit from Canucks defenceman Aaron Rome that landed him a four-game suspension. Rookie Tyler Seguin, who won the cup after being passed over for the No. 1 overall draft pick that Edmonton used to select Taylor Hall, said there was no shortage of redemption stories the Bruins.
“I’m just so happy to be part of it,” said rookie Brad Marchand, who scored two goals. “I don’t think people realize what we had to go through to get here and to win this. It just means so much to all of us.”
But winger Milan Lucic, a 23-year-old Vancouver native, was an exception to the redemption rule. He won the Stanley Cup after also winning Memorial Cup and WHL titles with the Vancouver Giants.
“It’s unbelievable. I don’t know what it is,” said Lucic. “I guess it was just meant to be.”
Lucic, who was loudly cheered as he hoisted the Cup, said he will bring the trophy back to Vancouver when he gets his time with it in the off-season.
“I can’t wait for the summer – because we’re going to party,” Lucic said.