By Judy Wakefield Staff Writer
The Andover Townsman
---- — Last Thursday, Oct. 11, was supposed to be the opening game of the NHL season for the Boston Bruins. The team was scheduled for a game against the Philadelphia Flyers.
But, the NHL lockout has put the season on ice. There are no NHL pucks being dropped. What’s an NHL coach to do?
Bruins head coach Claude Julien and assistant coach Geoff Ward came to Andover’s Harrison Rink, delighting two U12 girls hockey teams that were practicing. Ward even skated as he and Julien offered tips to the girls.
Coach Martha Fenton said about 30 girls were skating when Julien suddenly appeared. Fenton and other coaches knew he was coming, but the team members did not.
“It was just incredible,” Fenton said. “The girls were so excited and Geoff Ward stayed for the whole practice and skated with them. It was great.”
A bad hip prevented Julien from lacing up, but the girls were just thrilled to listen to his words of hockey encouragement.
“They gave him a standing ovation when he left,” Fenton said.
How did Andover get so lucky?
“It was a celebration of girls hockey worldwide that weekend and the Bruins pledged to surprise a girls hockey team. Andover was randomly selected,” said Peter Chiro of Bruins marketing. “Just totally random.”