2011 Stanley Cup Champions Banner Raising Ceremony
It was THE hockey moment in my life.
The Boston Bruins are 2011 Stanley Cup Champions after winning game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals on the road in Vancouver in June, 2011.
It was the first Bruins Cup win in my life and I decided that I had to go to the Banner Raising Ceremony next Season.
And I went!
So, I had the whole summer to plan my trip to Boston for watching the Ceremony. And then I had to wait, wait and wait….
But finally the day came!
Thursday, October 6, 2011 – Opening Day in the NHL
We arrived pretty early at TD Garden because we wanted to catch the most of the atmosphere as possible. First I did some shopping (Stanley Cup Champions + Banner Night Stuff) in the ProShop at TD Garden, watched the player leaving TD Garden after their morning skate and ate something in a nearby Bar.
The official part began at 4:00pm with a Fan Fest in front of the TD Garden, which included games and activities, Ice Girls and the Blades mascot appearances, and photo opportunities with the Prince of Wales, Conn Smythe and Vezina trophies won by the Bruins last year, while Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final was played on a big screen.
Doors to the Garden opened at 5:30pm, a half hour earlier than usual and all fans received a commemorative Championship mini-banner.
Ticket-holders were encouraged to be in their seats by 6:30pm for the pregame ceremony.
We had some seats in the front rows of the upper level corner. Lower level tickets were unfortunately not affordable. Nonetheless the seats were really good and we had a good view on all the action.
The Ceremony started with a look back on their previous Stanley Cup wins (1929, 1939, 1941, 1970 and 1972), followed by the Boston Bruins fan banner making his way through the crowd.
Then they looked back on the key moments of the Bruins way to the Cup win. They defeated the Montreal Candiens 4-3 in the first round after losing their first two home games, swept the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round and defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Final in seven games. In the Stanley Cup Final they took on the Vancouver Canucks and defeating them in a hard-fought and dramatic series, after a 4-0 victory in game 7 in Vancouver. Tim Thomas won the Conn Smythe Trophy for the Most Valuable Player in the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs and set several new records in his phenomenal Playoff performance.
When the video ended, the screen dropped to the ice, revealing the golden banner!!!
The crowd at TD Garden was rocking!!!
The unveiling of the banner was followed by the arrival on ice of the players who made it happen and giving each player the opportunity to present the fans the Cup on home ice -- including two who are no longer Bruins but will always be remembered as such (Mark Recchi and Shane Hnidy).
After the Bruins took turns raising the Cup Bruins president Cam Neely, general manager Peter Chiarelli, owner Jeremy Jacobs and captain Zdeno Chara each briefly addressed the crowd.
Then came perhaps the most sentimental moment of the night, and certainly a reminder of last year’s team spirit. Andrew Ference presented Recchi with the jacket -- purchased by the defenseman on eBay -- that came to symbolize the Bruins unity during the Cup run. After each victory along the way, it was presented to the player of the game as determined by his teammates.
The jacket presentation was the final prelude to the moment everyone came to see.
Members of the 1972 champs, led by Bobby Orr and Milt Schmidt, then took the ice to help raise the banner. The legendary champs joining the new champs. As Chara, Thomas, Recchi and Patrice Bergeron, joined by Cam Neely and other ownership and management personnel, tugged the ropes to hoist the banner skyward, the 17,565 in attendance rocked the Garden once more.
The first part of this night was phenomenal. The second part unfortunately wasn’t. The Bruins lost their first game of the new season against the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1. Brad Marchand scored the only goal for Boston. But it didn’t matter, certainly not on a day like this!
Watch the full Banner Raising Ceremony here: