Ask Vince Teddy if he’d like to talk about his beloved Boston Bruins.
“Oh boy! You got a couple of days?” he says, with an affable chuckle.
Teddy became a fan of the Bruins at age 12 while on an exchange trip to Ottawa, arranged through the residential school in Inuvik. The home where he was staying had a television and he had a chance to watch the Montreal Canadiens play the Bruins. Boston defenceman Bobby Orr, in particular, captivated him because of his determination to win and his outstanding style of play.
“He was not only a talented hockey player, he was a gentleman, even then,” Teddy recalls.
“He played within his game and didn’t bother with the politics of the other stuff that happened in the game.”
In the late 1990s, Teddy finally had the pleasure of seeing the Bruins play live versus the Oilers while he was visiting Edmonton.
That allowed him to marvel at another tremendous defenceman – Ray Bourque.
“After the hockey game when I walked out of the old (Northlands Coliseum), I was beaming and I said, ‘My life is complete now. I’ve watched the Bruins live,'” Teddy recalls, adding that his team prevailed on the ice.
Teddy has been perched in front of the television during every Boston playoff game this spring, sometimes by himself, sometimes with his grandchildren. He says the action gets him excited but he no longer allows referees’ calls to upset him.
Of course, he was cheering on his team the last time they captured the Stanley Cup in 2011, too.
If the Bruins win it all this year – and Teddy believes they have a great chance – he says he will keep a promise he made to his wife: he told her he would cheer for her Montreal Canadiens next season.
“That’s on the line. I know that,” he says.
“I told my wife that. I said, ‘Well, I’ve got to prepare myself for the fall of 2019. Come October, I’ll be cheering for the Montreal Canadiens… it’s going to be a different fit but I’ll be there backing her up 100 per cent.”
It has been quite a drought for Canadian teams with the last Stanley Cup winner from the country that invented hockey being Montreal in 1993. Teddy encourages fans of Canadian NHL franchises not to lose faith, despite the long stretch of futility.
“Don’t give up. Don’t give up,” he says.