By: Gayle Troiani | Follow me on Twitter @LadyBruinsFan
Rejean Lemelin, Bob Sweeney, Ken Linseman, Joey Mullen, Ray Bourque, Zdeno Chara, Frank Simonetti, Steve Leach. Those are some skaters you might see if you attend a Boston Bruins Alumni game. And if you’ve never been, what are you waiting for? The roster is compiled of NHL legends, and they often face off against teams with a chip on their shoulder because, for most of the opposing players, it’s not enough to share the ice with the legends; it’s all about beating them. But, for the Alumni, they are still as competitive in the benefit games as they were lacing up the skates for two points in the standings.
“(The games) have been tight all year,” Boston Bruins Alumni President Frank Simonetti said following a 6-3 alumni victory over the Gloucester High School All-Stars. “Every game has been a challenge. I don’t know if that means we are getting older or the teams that we are playing are staying the same age and getting better.”
Sometimes the Alumni are lucky enough to get a peak at the opposing team’s lineups and can adjust their roster to bring in some of the younger alumni or honorary members to bolster some speed and skill. The benefit game for the Gloucester 400 Celebration was one of those games.
“We knew we had to bring some talent, and we were lucky enough to get Joey Mullen’s son Patrick who played all over the American League and Europe, along with Mark Mowers, Steve Leach, and Kenny Linesman as a line together -they just clicked, and it was fun to watch those guys,” Simonetti explained.
They definitely clicked in the benefit game in Gloucester; Mowers recorded a hat trick earning the title of Player of the Game for the Alumni. Along with Mowers, the younger Mullen had plenty of opportunities to earn his first points as an alumni member. Referee Don Garcia awarded Mullen with not one but two penalty shots. Although he did not score, Mullen did collect his first goal on an assist from his father, sealing the 6-3 victory for the black and gold of yesteryear.
“It was really cool,” Mullen said of his first goal. “I wish it happened earlier in the game, but it was really fun.”
Mullen explained he has been trying to play with his dad and the rest of the alumni for a while, but roster spots and scheduling prevented it from happening until recently. Mullen and Bruins Alumni Media Director Mark Willand joked that Mullen had a contract waiting for him to be signed and would be seeing a lot more action in upcoming games, something the Hall of Fame Mullen is thrilled about.
“His whole career, I was proud of him, he worked hard to get to where he was, and he still loves the game,” Mullen said of his son. “I always enjoyed watching him and being on the same team; watching him is even better.”
Mullen wasn’t the only alumni to share the ice with a family member during the Gloucester game; Simonetti had his brother, John pull on the black and gold sweater as well.
“He’s a heck of an athlete, and he was thrilled to get the call to come play with us,” Simonetti said of his brother. “He’s been close (to playing) the past couple of years, but this year he got to break in and play. I think the guys liked him, so he probably gets another shot if we’re running short on guys.”
Due to scheduling, Simonetti needs to mix and match guys of different ages and talents in the games, and adding honorary members is a blessing, not a curse.
“There’s a hockey sense that goes along with reaching the National Hockey League,” Simonetti said. “Some guys have more of it than others, but pretty much everybody has some, and the guys that are elite players at the age we’re at now have tremendous amounts of hockey sense.
“They look to compliment their teammates; they’re not looking to score goals. They’re looking to set up their linemates, and it looks great to see the tic-tac-toe all over the ice. Keith Aucoin is one of them. He brought some energy to this team with his young legs and his hockey acumen. We love having him in the lineup.”
The Alumni have been winning games and packing arenas this year, and Gloucester was the biggest, with more than 1,200 fans in attendance.
“It’s a great sign of how much energy the Boston Bruins are bringing to New England because they are leading the league. Everybody wants a piece of the Bruins, even if it’s a piece of the alumni wearing the spoked-B. We’re all part of the family, so we’re happy to be a part of the family.”
The Alumni’s next game is Sunday, February 5, at the Everett Arena in Concord, New Hampshire, to benefit the Stephen Cmar Scholarship Fund for the ROTC Cadet Scholarship at the University of New Hampshire. The puck drops at 3:00 p.m.
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