The Boston Bruins finished up preseason training camp at The Ice Center, in Waterbury, Tuesday afternoon. Hundreds of fans played hooky from work and school for a chance to see their NHL heroes play some hockey. The event wasn’t widely publicized, but the word got out.
Fans started showing up to the rink at 8:00 a.m. for the 1:30 p.m. practice. By the time the team bus arrived, hundreds of spectators were packed into the arena, and the line of fans spilled out of the building.
The Bruins arrived in Vermont on Sunday, and spent Monday in Stowe, taking part in private team-building activities. Coach Claude Julien says this trip to Vermont is all about coming together as a team.
"We’ve got a lot of new players this year on our hockey team and it was a great opportunity to spend more time together and get to know each other a little bit better, said Julien. "Team chemistry is an important thing, as you know, for any team, any pro team, even minor hockey. When the guys get along and they have each other’s back and they play for each other, it makes your team that much better. So that’s what we try to accomplish here."
Among those new players is former UVM defenseman Kevan Miller, who just made the Boston roster. He says it’s great to be back in Vermont, and get to know some of his new teammates.
"I know a few guys on the team – Bartkowski, Krug, Caron, a few other guys – but I wasn’t able to get too much time during training camp to kind of spend with the guys and get to know them," said Miller. "So that’s kind of what this is about. It’s a team-building trip and get to know everybody and kind of come closer as a team as the season gets started."
The team building activities were organized by a Brattleboro-based organization called High Five Adventure. Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara said the team’s annual pre-season retreat with High Five is something the players look forward to.
"It was just a lot of fun, you know? It was fun to see guys enjoying themselves, having fun. You know, it was just a good day," said Chara.
And thanks to the Bruins, Tuesday was a good day for hundreds of young hockey fans, too. They got to watch the B's on the ice, meet some of their hockey heroes, and even take home autographs.