Desperate for a winner

Long-suffering Bruins fans’ note to Vancouver: Sorry, it’s our turn

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By Martine Powers
Globe Correspondent / June 15, 2011

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Boston native Jennifer Hughes knows what it’s like to suffer through a decades-long Stanley Cup dry spell. With the Boston Bruins, she has endured it all: the almosts, the second places, the near victories.

But she has a message for Vancouver: Wait your turn.

“This city has had to deal with droughts,’’ said Hughes, who now lives in Ohio. “True fans hang in with their sports teams through good times and bad. But we’ve just been waiting a long time for this.’’

Besides, she said, Canucks should take heart if their Stanley Cup dreams go unfulfilled tonight in Game 7 of the championship. Losing builds character.

Though supporters of both hockey teams have long borne the hardship of barren seasons — the Bruins last won the cup in 1972, the Canucks have never won the title since joining the National Hockey League in 1970 — Bruins fans showed little compassion for the team from north of the border.

Vancouver deserves to win the cup at some point, Hughes said during a visit to the Bobby Orr statue at the TD Garden yesterday, but not at the expense of Boston, a city that endured 86 years between Red Sox World Series championships.

“I have no sympathy,’’ Hughes said. “This is our chance.’’

Her teenage daughter, Olivia Fox, chimed in: “It’s like giving sympathy to the Lakers or the Heat.’’

Maureen Fay, 58, was a high school senior in Woburn when the Bruins last won the Stanley Cup. She now lives in Fort Myers, Fla., and has been waiting her whole adult life to see that magic re-created.

Does she feel sympathy for Vancouver fans who might be in a similar position?

“No,’’ she said, scoffing. “Is that mean? Not at all. No. Am I supposed to?’’

As Ian Henry, 49, contemplated the idea of the Bruins winning the Stanley Cup, his eyes started to tear up with hope.

And he is Canadian.

Henry has been a diehard fan since he watched the 1972 NHL finals on television in his Alberta home. Though he now lives in Houston, he said he could not pass up a chance to bear witness to a pivotal part of Bruins history.

“Friday morning, I woke up and said, ‘You know what? I got to get a ticket.’ ’’ Henry said. He paid $1,202 for a single Game 6 ticket. His seat was right behind Vancouver’s goal in the first period. “Boy, did I see them score!’’

Sporting a vintage Bruins jersey and holding a shopping bag full of just-purchased Bruins paraphernalia, Henry pointed out that Vancouver is a young team. They have to put in more time to win their first championship; the Bruins’ long history demands another title, he said.

“I’m sure the Vancouver fans will be pretty upset,’’ Henry said. “But you know what? They’re playing an amazing hockey team.’’

Tim Kivell, 47, and Martin Sunderland, 53, are Canadians visiting Boston for a conference, and they plan to root for the Canucks tonight. Because of their long record of seasons without Stanley Cup wins, Vancouver fans and Boston fans are kindred spirits, they said, more than most Bostonians care to acknowledge.

“If the Canucks win, we’ll feel [Boston’s] pain,’’ Kivell said.

“And if [Boston] wins, we hope they’ll feel ours,’’ Sunderland continued.

William Cummings of Malden, stopped by the Bobby Orr statue yesterday to pay homage to his hero. He wore his Bruins jersey.

“This is the first time I’ve ever worn it to work,’’ Cummings said. “I figured it was a good day to do that.’’

Cummings said he used to have more sympathy for the plight of Vancouver enthusiasts, until the finger-biting incident. And Aaron Rome’s hit on Nathan Horton.

“Good things come around; we played an honest game, and we deserve it,’’ he said.

As for how Canucks fans will carry on if they lose tonight, Cummings had a piece of advice: “Maybe try some golf?’’

Martine Powers can be reached at

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