It has been an incredible summer for Don DelNegro, the longtime Boston Bruins athletic trainer.
Just a few weeks after the Bruins won their first Stanley Cup championship in 39 years, DelNegro learned he'd be a member of this year's Westfield State University Athletics Hall of Fame.
"Obviously winning the Cup is big, and to get into the Hall of Fame is an honor," DelNegro said. "It's two kind of different honors, but they both mean a lot."
A 1984 graduate of Westfield State, DelNegro will join five others in the Hall of Fame's 2011 class to be inducted in October. As a student trainer for the Owls, the Lynnfield resident worked with sports team for more than 1,800 hours during his undergraduate years.
"Westfield State gave me clinical experience that a lot of other schools didn't offer at the time," DelNegro said, noting that the chance to work in both football and ice hockey provided invaluable experience.
"It's kind of like when you want to be an emergency room doctor, you need to work in the emergency room. You see injuries in football and hockey that you just don't see anywhere else."
After working as head of sports medicine at Williams College, DelNegro joined the Bruins, and he's felt at home ever since. Heading into his 19th season with the Boston, he and the Bruins reached the top of the mountain in the National Hockey League when the team topped Vancouver in Game 7 of the Finals to win the Stanley Cup.
"It's something you always think about and wish and dream that someday you can win the Cup," DelNegro said. "After 18 seasons, you kind of scratch you head a little and wonder if it's ever going to happen. When it does, it is something special."