"I can't believe I never knew about this before," said Patti Johansen of Woburn, Mass., who, like most Boston-area residents, thought the state had only three professional sports teams, the Patriots, Red Sox and Celtics. "Although for a while there in the '90s, I forgot about the Celtics too."The team, known as the "Boston Bruins," apparently in reference to a type of bear, began to appear on Boston residents' radar screens late last month after suddenly turning up in the Stanley Cup Finals.
"And they're pretty good, too," noted a clearly surprised David O'Kennedy, a Boston media critic. "I watched a few minutes of their game the other night, and that Patricia Bergeron, she was excellent."
A CAP News investigation found that the team, contrary to the popular local belief that it must have been formed sometime during the last two to three months, has actually been toiling in obscurity since 1924, and for much of that time has even had its games broadcast on local television.
"Every so often I'd flip by them on the TV, but I never stopped because I'm not a fan of skating," said Richard Vanderhaven of Cambridgeport.
Oddly enough, many of the residents who until days ago didn't know of the Bruins' existence have thrown themselves wholeheartedly behind their efforts, purchasing thousands of dollars worth of jerseys, hats, T-shirts, jewelry, tote bags, calendars and glowsticks (with lanyard).
"I'd go into Olympia [Sports, a New England sporting goods chain] and there would be this little corner with shirts with B's on them and stuff," said Jon Zincway of Dedham, decked out in a Bruins jersey, baseball cap, temporary face tattoo and foam finger while waiting in line at the TD Banknorth Garden to buy tickets for the Stanley Cup Finals last week. "If I'd known they were for an actual hockey team I would have bought all this stuff much sooner, as long as they, you know, won all the time."