Bringing Home the Cup

This past Sunday was a big day in Cornwall when local son Adam McQuaid brought home the Stanley Cup to share the success of the Boston Bruins with his family, friends, community and other hockey-loving Islanders. Local news reported that 15,000 turned out for the parade in Cornwall despite weather reports that Hurricane Irene was heading our way later that day.

For anyone who was hockey fan before 1967, there were only six teams in the NHL, so basically anyone you knew was either a fan of the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Chicago Black Hawks, Boston Bruins, New York Rangers or the Detroit Red Wings. Names like Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, Rocket Richard, Jean Belliveau, Bobby Hull, Gordie Howe were just a few of the hockey greats that local Clyde River families knew by heart and followed each Saturday on Hockey Night in Canada.

You could buy hockey cards at Ralph and Della Darrach’s store in Clyde River, and each pack included a stick of pink bubble gum. You would open up your fresh pack of cards and take it along to Clyde River School to trade with the other kids. Likely Donnie MacLean had the most extensive collection, as he not only watched hockey but kept meticulous records of the stats of each of the players and could offer a complete analysis of each hockey card.

Some would say that because there were only six teams, you got to know the names and so a little friendly rivalry among community folks was part of the entertainment. I remember reading a story about a community in Newfoundland where one family were fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the other, the Montreal Canadiens. On Saturday night each would set up their phone on top of the television and depending on which team won, the winning team’s family would phone the other family. The losing team’s family would never answer the phone, as the phone ringing on top of the television was already a clear message of victory.

So for those who grew up with the original six, and specifically for those who grew up as Boston fans, this past Sunday was an extraordinary event. To experience a parade celebrating one of our own bringing home the sacred Stanley Cup and representing the legacy of a team that included the likes of Orr, Hodge and Esposito and now McQuaid would be unimaginable in our childhood minds walking to school in Clyde River, but if it had happened back then, there would have been a brisk business in the sale of hockey cards at Darrach’s store.

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