In Southie, A Bruins Celebration Decades In The Making

By Jess Bidgood

June 16, 2011

Fans at South Boston's The Connection bar erupt in cheers as the Bruins emerged victorious from Wednesdays Stanley Cup Game 7. (Jess Bidgood/WGBH)

BOSTON — 79-year-old Jenny Zablocki decided at the last minute on Wednesday night to head to The Connection, a small South Boston sports bar, to watch the Bruins in their final Stanley Cup face-off against the Vancouver Canucks. The patrons of the bar know Zablocki well, since she’s there almost every week to watch one game or another. They say she's their good luck charm.
“They says, you have to come because they win, they win!” Zablocki said. “You know, so tonight we come down they says you’re here, because we’re gonna win!”
Her friends made the right predecition. When the game came to its decisive, victorious end, the whole city of Boston seemed to erupt with joy. Fans spilled into Downtown Boston’s streets, hugging, singing and chanting, “We won the cup!” And at The Connection, dozens of longtime Southie residents banded together for a moment 39 years in the making, launching a group rendition of “We are the Champions.”
“This place is packed, it’s packed more than it usually is. It’s awesome, awesome,” said John Devine, a 54-year-old postal worker.

He started watching the Bruins in the late 1960s, just before they won their last Cup in 1972. “It doesn’t get any better than this,” Devine said. “Now (the Bruins) can be in the same category, the upper echelon of the great Boston teams.”
“I’m just happy, wicked happy,” said UMASS maintenance worker Rick Shaw. “They’re like all of us, they’re hard workers you know, they deserve it.”
Brady Griffin sported a Bruins jersey and a scruffy red beard, mirroring the playoff beards of the players on the ice. He says been to The Connection a million times — his uncle tends bar there — but tonight was different. He's on the younger side, so he had never seen the Bruins take home a championship.
“I grew up playing hockey and that was the first team that I became attracted to. As I grew older, then I realized you know the pride in the hometown and the Bruins are kind of it for me, it’s the one,” Griffin said. “I’ve always said if the Bruins won I don’t know what I’d do with myself, and I really don’t know what I’d do with myself.”
Outside the bar, as cars honked past and people extolled the virtues of Boston’s “dirty water,” Zablocki just grinned.
“It’s wonderful that we won it because we deserve it. I mean, both teams were matched perfectly, but the best team wins,” Zablocki said. “And I’m so happy for them, because we haven’t won a cup for how many years? Oh, forever, it seems. And the hockey, since Bobby Orr!”
Zablocki says she’ll be back at The Connection for Red Sox games — and she hopes that team will pick up where the Bruins are leaving off.

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