Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

20 things you didn’t know about the Boston Bruins

Dennis Wideman of the Boston Bruins defends on a penalty kill in a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on April 3, 2010 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario.
Dennis Wideman of the Boston Bruins defends on a penalty kill in a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on April 3, 2010 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario.

They are one of the biggest names in US sport and today they arrive in Northern Ireland.

So here are 20 fascinating facts about ice hockey giants the Boston Bruins who take on the Belfast Giants at the Odyssey on Saturday

11It is more than 50 years since the Boston Bruins last travelled to Europe. After the 1958-59 season, the Bruins embarked on a 10-city, 23-game European tour which included matches in London, Geneva, Paris and Berlin.

2 Although ice hockey has a relatively low profile here it is a multi-billion dollar industry in the US and Canada. The Boston Bruins are one of the legendary names of the National Hockey League. The franchise was founded in 1924 and is one of the original six NHL teams.

3 The visit of the Boston Bruins to Belfast is expected to generate up to £800,000 for the local economy as ice hockey fans from across the UK and the US travel to the city.

4 Team captain Zdeno Cháro, who will play in Belfast on Saturday, is the tallest player ever in the National Hockey League (NHL). He measures a towering 6ft 9ins.

5 The lowest paid Bruins player earns more than the entire Giants’ squad. The wage bill for the Giants is £300,000 while the poorest Bruin is Shawn Thornton whose salary is $825,000, or £521,647 a year.

6Team member Andrew Ference has covered his body in dozens of tattoos including a tribute on his back to his daughter Ava (3), the Canadian flag, a pair of Haida eagles and an image of his junior team, the Portland Winterhawks.

7The trip to Belfast is an extra special one for winger Shawn Thornton. His mother Catherine is a Belfast woman and he has bought a ticket for her to see the match.

8In May Bruins centre Marc Savard bit off more than he could chew when he sank his teeth into Philadelphia Flyers enforcer Daniel Carcillo’s finger.

9In 2000 the on-ice antics of Bruins star Marty McSorley ended up in court. He struck New York Ranger Donald Brashear with his stick causing him to lose consciousness. He was found guilty of assault with a weapon and sentenced to 18 months’ probation.

10Actor Ben Affleck is a fan of the Bruins and has been seen wearing their colours. Other famous fans include actor John Krasinski, who stars in the US version of The Office, and star of US show Rescue Me, comedian Denis Leary.

11The Bruins have won the prestigious Stanley Cup five times, the second highest of any NHL team. The Detroit Red Wings have 11 titles.

12The TD Banknorth Garden has been home to the Bruins since 1995. The stadium cost $160m (£100m) to build and has a capacity of 17,565. Before then they played their games at Boston Garden, home since 1928.

13 Female fans were delighted when current player and captain Zdeno Chára took off his hockey kit and posed naked for ESPN magazine in 2009.

14 Chára also has something else to celebrate — he is the highest earner on the team and will be paid $7.5m (£4.7m) for the 2010/11 season. The second highest earner is Tim Thomas on $6m (£3.8m), and Patrice Bergeron is third on a salary of $5.75m (£3.6m) per season.

15In 1958 winger Willie O’Ree became the first black player in the NHL when he was brought into the Boston Bruins team.

16 The Bruins are owned by Jeremy Jacobs who bought them in 1975 for $10m (£6.3m). Forbes valued the team at $271m (£170m) in 2009.

17 They wear a bright yellow shirt with black and white markings and a giant B logo.

18 The mascot is Blades the brown bear who joins the team on the ice before matches to entertain the crowd.

19 Claude Julien is the cur rent head coach. He previously served as coach for the Montreal Canadiens and the New Jersey Devils.

20 The Boston Bruins will take on the Belfast Giants Selects in an exhibition game at the Odyssey Arena on Saturday at 2pm. Tickets are available from the box office on 028 9073 9074. The Bruins then take to the ice on Tuesday in the Czech Republic.

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