The first time I saw the Bruins play in person was also the last time. I was a young teen and a cousin of my Father's had season tickets to the L.A. Kings. Knowing of my love of all things Bruin she graciously offered them to us when we and the Bruins both happened to be in town. I must have been dumbstruck by the spectacle because I don't recall all that much. I remember that the Bruins lost and they didn't take it very well. Near the end of the game I vividly recall Bobby Orr being sent to the penalty box so angry that he broke his stick over the boards. Back in those days the guys really hated to lose in general, but to lose to a west coast expansion team was considered downright inexcusable.
That was 33 years ago. Why haven't I been to any games since? Because I have never lived in an NHL city, much less Boston. The opportunities simply have not been there. In 1990 I did spend a week in Boston, but as luck would have it the Bruins were out of town.
Back in '95 when the old Garden was no more, most fans were saddened by the thought of all the great games and history that was going away. I was saddened by the realization that I would never see a game there. Not all dreams come true, it seems.
Today I live on top of a 9000 ft mountain in New Mexico, so my chances of seeing a game are pretty slim. The unbalanced schedule makes it seem a very distant possibility indeed. When the '07/'08 schedule came out I had a look at it out of curiosity. The second game jumped out at me: Phoenix. Phoenix is the closest NHL venue to me, although it is still quite a long way away. I wondered: what were the chances that this game would be in Phoenix and not Boston? What were the chances that it would be on a Saturday night (the only night that I could possibly make it). To my utter amazement, the game was in Phoenix on Saturday October 6. Trying not to run, I found my wife in another part of the house. She's a casual hockey fan at best. I sidled up to her and innocently asked, "So... um... how'd you like to see Wayne Gretzky in person?"
Long story short, I am finally attending my second Bruins game, this time with my wife and kids in tow. It'll be a seven hour drive to get there, but I can't recall looking forward to something so much in a very, very long time!