, Salem, MA

April 19, 2014

Local fans like Bruins' chances in playoffs

By Phil Stacey
Sports editor

---- — BOSTON — Andy and Nick LeColst share a lot in common. They’re brothers, firefighters and each had stellar high school careers playing hockey at Masconomet Regional.

Since 2008, the two Middleton natives have also been Boston Bruins season ticket holders — and say the enjoyment they’ve had and the victories they’ve witnessed has been worth every penny of their investment.

“We just made a phone call to see if we could get season tickets, and we did. It’s been great from that point on,” said 29-year-old Nick LeColst, who was at last night’s playoff opener at the TD Garden against the Detroit Red Wings with his wife, Jen.

His older brother Andy wasn’t at last night’s game, but plans on being to quite a few before the season is over. The brothers have an agreement: if the Bruins play in a Game 5, 6 or 7 of a series at home, they always go to the game together.

“I had my heart broken a lot of times by this team growing up in the 1980s, so I never take anything for granted,” said Andy, a 35-year-old Middleton firefighter and father of two girls, with a son on the way later this year. “So I’ll stay cautiously optimistic ... until the lift the Cup.”

Sarah Cahill feels that the Bruins have all the necessary attributes to lift Lord Stanley’s mug once again — but feels she might have have no fingernails left by the time it happens.

A 32-year-old hairdresser from Peabody, Cahill often takes her 8-year-old son, Cole, to the games. They’ve both become huge fans since her first contest a few years ago against the Islanders, when Cahill said she became “instantly hooked.”

“It’s a great experience for both of us,” said Cahill, who works at Boston Beauty Supply in Danvers. “We sit up in the balcony — where the real fans are — and Cole is always telling me to be quiet. I can’t help it.”

The LeColsts signed up for season tickets during the summer of 2008, long before every game was a sellout and tickets were harder to come by than Canucks fans in the Greater Boston area. The Bruins had unveiled their ‘Hungry For Hockey’ ticket plan, offering season tickets in the balcony for $39 a game while getting all-you-can-eat hot dogs, pretzels, popcorn, nachos and soda during games. So the siblings got two season tickets in Section 327 and have never once questioned their decision.

“They were literally trying to give away tickets at that point,” said Andy LeColst, one of the North Shore’s all-time leading scorers who piled up 215 points during a stellar career at Masconomet. “Now they’re like gold; we can’t get rid of them fast enough when we can’t make it to a game.”

Cole Cahill has jerseys of many of the players, said his mother: Patrice Bergeron, Tuukka Rask, Dougie Hamilton and his favorite player, captain Zdeno Chara, to name a few. She prefers to wear one bearing the name of a short-term ex-Bruin: Jaromir Jagr, a jersey she purchased in the team’s pro shop the night of his first game with Boston a year ago.

“People think hockey players are rough and tumble barbarians, but they’re really suck great guys,” said Cahill, who has had the opportunity to meet Rask, Chara, Shawn Thornton and Chris Kelly at several functions with her son.

Also she was not at last night’s playoff opener, Cahill (the sister of North Shore Navigators baseball manager Jon Cahill) is hoping to get a postseason contest. She thinks this series against the Red Wings will fare well for the Bruins because of their physicality and hoping to get a postseason contest. She thinks this series against the Red Wings will fare well for the Bruins because of their physicality and depth.

Jen LeColst didn’t come from a sports family, but certainly married into one. She’s grown to love going to games with Nick — they estimate using their season tickets for about 20 regular season games — and, like her husband, thinks the Bruins will beat Detroit in six games.

Her brother-in-law Andy, the former head hockey coach at Salve Regina (R.I.) University, figures that the Bruins are built for the playoffs and can withstand any challenge.

“The worry, to me, is if you lose one of your top centers. Any extended period of time with (Patrice) Bergeron or (David) Krejci could be trouble,” he said. “But I think Tuukka could really do well in these playoffs and carry them a long way.”