June 13, 2013

Steve Solloway: A lifelong devotion sizzles as Bruins enter finals

By Steve Solloway ssolloway@pressherald.com

(Continued from page 1)

Boston Bruins fan Jim Joyce, right, who works at Maine Hardware in Portland, on Tuesday holds a towel from Game 4 of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals. Joyce attended the 2011 game with his brother.

Tim Greenway/Staff Photographer

Watching Game 7 in 1979 with his brother and father, Joyce would study how he was sitting when the Bruins scored a goal. “I was that superstitious,” he said. “If my legs were crossed when Rick Middleton scored, they had to be crossed when someone else was taking a shot.”   

Don Cherry was the Bruins coach. He instructed Don Marcotte to shadow Canadiens star Guy Lafleur throughout the game. “If Lafleur went to the men’s room, Cherry expected Marcotte to follow him through the door,” Joyce said.   

With about five minutes left in the game and the Bruins ahead 4-3, Lafleur skated back onto the ice after he had just left, surprising Marcotte. Suddenly, Boston had an extra player on the ice, a penalty. With a Bruins player in the penalty box, Lafleur scored the tying goal. Montreal won in overtime on Yvon Lambert’s goal.   

“I died on May 10, 1979, at 11:10 p.m., to be exact,” Cherry wrote in his autobiography. “Two shots killed me. The first, which left me critically wounded, was fired by Guy Lafleur. The one that wiped me out came from the stick of Yvon Lambert. Had I survived these attacks, I have no doubt that I would still be coach of the Boston Bruins today and, quite likely, governor of Massachusetts.”   

In 2011, the Bruins played the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup finals. Jim Joyce and his brother, Smokey Foley, got tickets to Game 4 at TD Garden. They were gifts from their mother, Mary, 

“If my Dad was alive, he would have taken us,” said Joyce, the manager of Maine Hardware at Union Station Plaza in Portland. “We went to a ticket website. The tickets cost over $700 each. We were up, behind one of the goals. We could see the benches. It was the best sports event I’ve been to. Ever. The crowd was into it, people were on their feet throughout the game. I know we were. There was no lull.”   

The Bruins won 4-0, beating Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo. “I remember the crowd chanting his name,” said Joyce. “It was great.”   

The Bruins won the Stanley Cup in seven games. Did it ease the pain from 1979?   

“It did,” said Joyce. “It really did.” Much like the Red Sox win in the 2004 World Series eased the frustration of 86 years of futility. Much like the Patriots’ three Super Bowl victories at the beginning of the 21st century erased the ineptness of their early history.   

A bit like the Celtics winning the NBA championship in the 2007-2008 season, restoring luster to a franchise that had won 16 previous titles so long ago.   

Joyce may watch Game 1 with a friend or two. “I’m not a bar guy,” he said. “Maybe my brother and I will try to get tickets to a game.” He didn’t sound hopeful.   

His wife, Kellie, may watch Wednesday night’s game with him. Their 10-year-old daughter, Sarah, will check to see if her father yells at the television again. She’ll remind him that the players can’t hear him.   

Joyce disagrees. He’s one of thousands of Bruins fans. Their voices will always be heard.   

Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at: ssolloway@pressherald.com   

Twitter: SteveSolloway

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