Bruins alumni prove they’ve still got it

By Adam Brazeau 
CORNWALL, Ontario – For Boston Bruins fanatics dressed in the team’s signature black and yellow colours, the nostalgia alone was worth the price of admission in Akwesasne on Saturday.

The Bruins Alumni team defeated the Akwesasne Mohawks 10-6 in a hard fought match, hosted by the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne (MCA), at the A’nowara’ ko:wa arena in front of 1,000 fans.

Sporting matching toques with the trademark B emblem, Norman Herne and his daughter Julie cheered their favourite former NHLers.

The lineup included Ray Bourque, John Wensink, Terry O’Reilly, Rick Middleton, Bob Sweeney, Bruce Shoebottom, Bruce Crowder, Tim Sweeney, Jay Miller, Tom Fergus, Reggie Lemelin, Ken Linseman, and Rick Smith, coached by Brian Goodleaf.

“I’ve been a Bruins fan for all my life,” said Herne, 52. “I used to watch them on TV and now I actually get to see them.”

To help capture the moment he brought a collection of vintage hockey cards to be signed after the game.

During the warm-up, Julie listened intently as her dad pointed out players and recalled their greatest triumphs on the ice.

“I’m glad I got the opportunity to experience this with him,” she said.

Bruins royalty Ray Bourque, arguably one of the best defenceman of all time, spoke with Seaway News moments before the puck dropped. He explained why after 13 years of retirement he still loves the game.

“Hockey is still fun to play – we still go out there to have fun and compete,” said Bourque. “We also have a great following. Hockey has given me a lot and we get to raise a lot of money.”

Dozens of young fans waited eagerly beside the dressing room doors before the Bruins arrived – and when they finally did, the excitement was contagious. It reminded Bourque about growing up in Montreal and dreaming of being a Canadien, before he embarked on a 22-year career.

“I love meeting people who are really into the sport,” he said.

His advice to future hockey stars in training focused on strengths both on and off the rink.

“You should be playing because you love the game…and if you’re going to play, work hard,” said Bourque. “When you do that, you might end up somewhere special.”

Last year, MCA hosted a similar event featuring Habs alumni.

Former Cornwall Royal and Akwesasne resident Mark Thomas has played in both games. To prepare for this match the Mohawks held four scrimmages on home ice. The roster was also cut in half to 14 players.

“I grew up watching a lot of these NHL legends so sharing the rink is an amazing experience,” said Thomas.

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