Canadian Support for Boston Bruins

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This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

Audio Transcript:

Marco Werman: The Vancouver Canucks are one win away from claiming Hockey Stanley Cup. They'll try to earn that victory tonight against the Bruins here in Boston. The Canucks lead the series, three games to two, but Bruins have the home ice advantage tonight. One of their longtime do-or-die fans is Bill Estabrooks. But here is the thing about Estabrooks, he'll be pulling for the Bruins as he watches the game from home in Nova Scotia, that's in Canada and he won't be alone. Mr. Estabrooks why are you cheering for the Bruins?

Bill Estabrooks: Well I'm a longtime Bruins fan. I was a Bruins fan before Bobby Orr played for the Bruins. I grew up on the Tantramar marshes, which is basically at the head of the Bay of Fundy between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. And as a little guy I listened to transistor radio, of course and I always sat [?] when the Bruins games on. That's the original connection with them. Subsequently then of course it's just been a concept like affair with [?] hockey in this part of the country and then the Bruins have always been my team.

Werman: Well, you need to help us out here because you're not only a Bruins fan, you're also, you know, an official, a public face, you're a member of parliament to Canada and Nova Scotia's Transportation Minister. So what is the connection between Halifax and Boston?

Estabrooks: So, Werman what does that have to do with being a Bruins fan?

Werman: (laughs), I'd expected I'd be rooting for -,

Estabrooks: I mean I can be [xx] bad at being a Bruins fan just as well as being a patronizing politician too, you know.

Werman: So, what is the connection between Halifax and Boston?

Estabrooks: Well, in the, prior to politics, might be I should point out to you that I was a History teacher in the public school system here in Nova Scotia. The connection of course is in the First World War there was an explosion when two ammunition ships collided in Halifax harbor. It basically destroyed the downtown poor of Halifax environment[?], with over 2000 people dying and in the midst of that natural disaster that happened at that time, the very first city that responded was, with nurses and with doctors and with a shipload of supplies and food, were the people of Boston. So in return we've always had a strong connection. We make sure we send a Christmas tree down to Boston, just thanking them again for their help those many long years ago. Right, that's the history, that was pretty good, I guess from the old History teacher.

Werman: Well that's interesting, because History apparently goes real deep for you, deeper than National sports allegiances?

Estabrooks: Well, National sports aside, I know of many Canadians are saying you know that as a, I, you know, patriotic public figure, I should be cheering for Team Vancouver. Eh, not so much OK. Like, there's a lot of reasons to cheer for the Bruins, they've got some Canadian kids playing for them. My connection comes down to the fact that Brad Marchand also constitute of mine, we're the Marchand family within my community and I've known barely since he was a little boy and he's one of those great hockey players, you'll love to have him on your team. You hate him when he doesn't play for you, so.

Werman: (laughs)

Estabrooks: He's got a special connection issue, and particularly he's had a great playoff run and it's great to see him doing well.

Werman: Now your support of the Boston Bruins, I wonder if you know, those are kind of like fighting sentiments up in Canada. There's a picture of you on the front page of the Boston Globe today and you're missing a couple of teeth, did that come about because of your support of the Bruins?

Estabrooks: (laughs) No those aren't recent losses. I lost one playing hockey and I lost another one playing hockey university football. But, yeah, it's a tradition in my home, like when the Bruins are playing in the playoffs, I, you know, I take my teeth out. I mean, that's old timers hockey, I just continue to play old timers hockey here in Halifax area, but that's all just part of being a Bruins fan. I've been a hockey fan, anybody who's a fan of hockey, of course understands the passion of the game and what it brings out in this country and I'm sure in the Boston area too. I mean loyalty is a wonderful particularly through the ins and the outs and the downs and ups of professional sports, so, Bruins have had a great ride and there's only one way to finish the season, like we say and that's of course to win it all.

Werman: Bill Estabrooks who is a member of the Canadian parliament and Nova Scotia's Transportation Minister, he's also a Boston Bruins fan. Thanks very much for speaking with us.

Estabrooks: Go Bruins, go.