I was covering the Bruins practice in 1968-1969 during their playoff run the year before they won the Stanley Cup. D. Leo Monahan, the great hockey writer for the Record American, came out of the Bruins locker room to get me while I was shooting stuff on the ice and said, “Bobby wants a team photo.”
Bobby Orr had received a poster from a group of soldiers in Vietnam and Orr wanted a team photo with the poster to send back to the soldiers. I took this photo of the group.
I saw every game Bobby Orr played at Boston Garden including games when the Oshawa Generals, his minor league team, played at the Garden. I had two season tickets for section 73 Row C, seats 3 & 4. I even had a Bruins stocking hat that I would wear at work and around the office and of course everyone got their laughs from that.
The first time I saw Orr in person was when I went to the Garden with UPI photographers Don Robinson and George Riley for his first official practice as a Boston Bruin. He was there with Giles Marotte and as a hockey fan and future news photographer this was big.
We covered Orr all the time and when he got hurt at an away game I was sent to Logan Airport for his return along with Globe Photographer Charlie Carey. In those days you could get down to the airline terminal but Bobby was none too friendly with us, as he was hurting. It was not his usual demeanor. On the other hand, Phil Esposito, who walking with Orr tried to pacify us, being friendly but also trying to get us away from Orr.
I remember many times I was asked to cover events with Bruins players. One time, the two Esposito brothers were doing some kind of promotion for either an airline or a travel agency and we were out on the runaway while Tony and Phil waved to the cameras. It was fun and funny. I did a visit with Garnett “Ace” Bailey and his wife just before they got married. They were such a nice couple and it is truly sad that Ace lost his life in the 9/11 terrorism. A home visit with Ken Hodge was great, as I took a photo of Ken standing in front of his figure 8 swimming pool. I was welcome to his home as if I was one of his family.
I only covered a few Bruins hockey games; but, the few I covered were memorable. As a season ticket holder, I knew that Jacques Plante always skated off the ice with the stick in the air if he won a game. They were playing on a Saturday afternoon and I got to cover the game. I planned this photo all game and when the Bruins won I got a great photo of him skating off as he always did with the goalie stick up and a huge smile on his face.
The year before they won the Stanley Cup I covered a game that you could almost consider a riot. Lots of fights with Forbes Kennedy of the Toronto Maple Leafs going wild during an 11-0 Bruins win. The ice was wild and so was the crowd. What a night!
Bobby and a group of rookie hockey players became friends with a group of girls from Revere and I got to meet him at one of the girl's homes. It was exciting to meet the future Mr. Hockey.
When the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 1972 beating the New York Rangers at New York, I was at Logan Airport and on the runaway when they got off the plane, another exciting happening. The only problem was Bobby got off the plane next to a woman who I thought was his girlfriend (future wife) and went with that for the newspaper’s story. Only problem was she actually worked in the Bruins office and I identified her wrong. I found out by taking the photo to Bob Crane the State Treasurer a good friend of Bobby Orr.
When Ray Lussier made the great photo of Orr scoring the winning goal in their 1970 Stanley Cup win, I was at the game in my seats and after the game I went to the office. There was Mike Andersen’s great photo of young Bobby Orr drinking champagne from the top of the Cup.
Ray Lussier saw me and told me to follow him. He took me to the photo engraving department where back then engravings were made to put pictures in the paper. There it was one of the best hockey pictures ever and he was so proud, Orr in the air after shooting the overtime goal to beat St. Louis Blues.
I just looked up at the TV while typing this and on NESN there is a special on the Bruins and Bobby Orr flying through the air and they are talking about the Lussier photo.
I have lots of Bruins photos to post in the future and have most of the negatives from the above stories.