Bourque, Billy, and the Bay: My Bruins Story

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

By: Tom Egan | Follow me @eganthoughts

My name is Tom Egan and I’m excited to be here! I’m twenty-eight years old and like anyone of my generation I love to talk about myself, but for your sake, I’ll keep this as brief as possible. Below is me twenty-two years ago when I first fell in love with the great sport of hockey. My skull remains disproportionately sized to the rest of my body, but it has far more whiskers and chins to put them on today. The rest of me looks about the same. Much like my physical appearance, my love of “the coolest game on earth,” as it was branded back then, is the same as it ever was.

( Photo Credit: Sean Egan )

I was born in Winchester, Mass, and lived in Arlington for the first three years of my life. After that, me, my parents, and my two brothers packed up and moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, which would be home for the next fifteen years until I relocated to Tampa for school and years beyond. Salt Lake City having very few major league sports teams made it easy to inherit my rooting interests from my dad (his cholesterol, high blood pressure, and social skills were just a throw in). In that light, it was easy to adopt the Bruins as my team. It was even easier to adopt Ray Bourque as my hero. Of course, about a year after the above photo was taken, he was traded to Colorado.

For those who don’t own a map, Utah is one state over from Colorado, so the Avs were the most popular team in the area. I was ecstatic when they won the Cup in 2001, and so were the local hockey fans. There was some awkwardness watching one of my favorite athletes win with a different team and have all the locals who recently started rooting for him celebrate with him. Good thing that rarely happens (looks up at zoom meeting and sees coworkers celebrating Tom Brady’s contract extension). Oh. Ray then retired, and I was back to living and dying with the Bruins, and I had an unlikely new hero to worship…..Bill Guerin.

This is where my Bruins fandom story diverges from most others. It’s an odd thing to have your favorite player be someone whose tenure was only two years and a whopping one playoff series, but this is where, for two weeks, being a Bruins fan in Salt Lake City became really cool. I’m talking about the 2002 Olympics. I was blessed to be connected enough (Grandpa worked for Hallmark) to get to go to two USA Men’s Hockey games. I was in the house to watch Billy G score two goals in an 8-1 shellacking of Belarus. I was there the next week for the first medal-round game and the 5-0 beatdown of future Bruin legend Dennis Seidenberg and Germany. This was too good to be true; I have an American hockey hero who just happens to be a Bruin leading us to gold in my hometown? It turns out it was too good to be true as Canada whooped our boys in the finals 5-2, and Bill Guerin, my new hero, was off to Dallas six months later.

I was just getting over that loss. It only took me eleven years, a new home, the Bruins return to prominence, and any number of therapists, but I was feeling pretty good in 2013. The Bruins were a powerhouse and were taking on the Hawks for the cup. I was home from college for the summer working as a valet in an upscale seafood (by Utah standards) restaurant. As I found out, it was where the 2002 Canadian Olympic team used to eat dinner every night while in town. After winning the gold, they signed a picture and jersey, framed them, and gave them to the restaurant. I was reading the plaque commemorating it, and I looked up for a brief, oh let’s say seventeen seconds. I saw two goals. That’s when I decided that a cup of chowder would never taste good a thousand miles from the nearest ocean, and I walked out and never went back.

That’s a little bit about who I am, but if you’ve stuck with me, thus far keep reading to learn about what I plan to do here. George Clooney has a great line in an otherwise forgettable movie called Up in the Air. The movie came out in 2009 at the height of the last recession. Clooney plays a rep for a third-party firm that companies hire to fire and transition employees. He asks Anna Kendrick, who he’s mentoring, what their company does. She gives some canned corporate bs answer about easing people’s career changes. Clooney says, “that’s what we say we do, but what we really do is we make limbo tolerable.” That’s the type of work I want to do for this site. If you’re like me, you visit a site like this for analysis, and we have great people for that.

You come here for insight; we have great people for that too. You come here for game picks; we definitely have great people for that (special shoutout to Jacob Abenante for putting my work in the right hands. Hammer his picks, fade mine). But if you’re really like me, you come to sites like this to escape. You’re trying to get away from the workday for a bit. You’re trying to get away from any personal problems you may be having. You’re trying to consume any news that isn’t bad or, at the very least, won’t deeply affect your life if it is. I intend to provide that escape. It could be through long-form stories about obscure players. It could be through my uncut reaction to team moves and news. It could be through live game streams once I invest in a webcam wide enough to fit my giant head in the frame. I’m here to write, to inform, to analyze, and to entertain. I’m here to make your limbo tolerable.

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