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Bruins’ 1970 and 1972 Stanley Cup winners finally raise banner to rafters

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Boston Bruins

Nov 18, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Members of the Boston Bruins from the Stanley Cup Champions of 1970 and 1972 raise their banners for the first time to the rafters before the game between the Boston Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Bruins’ Stanley Cup winners from 1970 and ’72 finally got their chance to raise a banner to the rafters on Saturday night.

As part of the club’s 100th season celebration, the club honored what was called the “Big Bad Bruins Era” from 1960-76.

During that period, they captured Cups in ’70 and ’72 but they never had a ceremony to raise the banner.

Before the team faced its longtime rivals, the Montreal Canadiens, some of the members of those teams — led by Hall of Famers Bobby Orr and Johnny Bucyk — walked onto the ice wearing a jersey and hoisted banners.

“I’ve seen it done in other cities and how they’ve gone about it, it meant a lot to our guys,” said former forward Wayne Cashman, 78, a member of both Cup winning teams. “You really feel the championship.”

Dallas Smith, 82, a defenseman on both teams, also felt special pride raising the flags that honored the achievement.

“It meant a lot,” he said, smiling. “It’s nice to be recognized. We’re lucky to have won the Cup twice. We wish we could have won it more, but that’s how sports is.”

The Bruins players had a chance to chat with the former greats during their pregame meal.

“We talk a lot about how lucky we are to be a part of the Boston Bruins’ history,” Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said after a 5-2 victory. “Being able to witness it there and see those great teams of ’70 and ’72, all the tremendous characters, we are lucky to be able to follow in their footsteps. It was really special.”

Forward Brad Marchand said his dad grew up a fan of those teams.

“It was incredible to sit and listen to them earlier and hear some of the stories,” Marchand said. “I’m sure my dad would have loved being in the crowd tonight and got to witness that. It was really a special moment to see them lift the banners.”

President Cam Neely felt like the moment meant a lot to the players and the fans.

“It’s extremely special. Obviously, a team as old as the Bruins and the players that have come through here and worn the jersey, to have so many ’70, ’72 guys here is pretty special,” he said.

Neely didn’t know they hadn’t had a banner ceremony until someone in marketing brought it up.

“I didn’t even realize it until a couple of months ago,” he said. “They’d show up the next year and the banner was already hanging.’’

Montreal coach Martin St. Louis agreed that it was special to see legends on the ice.

“This franchise has great history: Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito,” he said. “It’s nice to see them on the ice and get recognized for something they did a long time ago.”