A long 82-game season and two intense months of playoff hockey came down to just one game for the right to hoist hockey’s Holy Grail, a right claimed by the Boston Bruins.
At bars across Toronto last night, the beer flowed and servers were kept busy as fans of the Vancouver Canucks and the Bruins lifted mugs of a different sort.
Business was brisk at Brass Taps Pizza Pub on the Danforth, where thirsty hockey fans needed a number just to get a seat. Co-owner and bartender Will Strum ranked Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final up there with Halloween, New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day, the pub’s busiest times of year.
“It’s a really positive thing to see people rooting for a team that’s 3,000 miles away,” Strum said.
Boston’s sixth Stanley Cup victory, sealed with a 4-0 shutout, ended that city’s 39-year NHL championship drought. In its 40-year history, the Canucks franchise has never won.
As the second period ended with the Bruins leading 3-0, the mood inside Brass Taps changed from cheery to dreary and those who couldn’t take the pressure left.
“I’m not a hockey fan but it would have been nice to see Vancouver end off the playoffs with a win,” Strum said.
Bruins fan Nick Kartz said his team played with the grit it takes to win the Stanley Cup.
“I’m a (Tim) Thomas fan. His goaltending is phenomenal,” he said of the Conn Smythe Trophy-winning Bruin. “But I’m a little disappointed that Vancouver was shut out. I wanted them to at least lose respectfully.”