WESTBROOK, Maine — Boston Bruins fans are die-hard. Perhaps a different breed.
Sure, all four of New England's major professional sports teams have their dedicated followings. But B's fans are uniquely different. They bleed black and gold. They possess grit, courage, and an emphatic devotion toward victory.
It's from these characteristics a fellowship forms, in many ways epitomizing the core values of the very city in which the team calls home — the birthplace of the American Revolution. They stick together, through thick and thin.
Whatever it takes.
For die-hards Jay and Jacob Violette, the Bruins are much more than an ice hockey team. They're the tape that grips the puck; the veteran enforcer avenging a young teammate; the neighborhood street rink cultivating camaraderie.
The father and son used to live in Maine, but life happened and the two are now 1,000 miles apart — Jay in Winter Springs, Florida, near Orlando; and his son, Jacob, near Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where he works at Boeing.
Jay, 49, says the Bruins are the one thing that has kept them close over the years. He and his son, 23, still watch every game together via Skype.
Back in late 2010, Jay had already left Westbrook for Florida and Jacob was still living in Maine. They watched 80 of the 82 games together that season. Boston, of course, went on to win its sixth Cup in spring 2011, its first since 1972.
"We were so excited our team beat all the odds and pulled it off," Jay said.
Since then, in addition to watching the Bruins games, Jay says his son has made a bracket using Google Docs so the two can follow every round of the playoffs.
For Christmas this past year, Jay's son gave him a painting based on an actual picture of the two from when Jacob was a kid. They're still fishing, like before, but are both in Bruins jerseys — Jay's got on a David Pastrnak sweater, No. 88, while Jacob's wearing Patrice Bergeron, No. 37.
Jay says it was the most thoughtful present he has ever received.
And now, five months later, they've got something else to celebrate: another shot at the Cup. "After many heart breaks, this year has been filled with hope," Jay said. "And we made it to the Big Dance again."
Jay and Jacob are very confident the Bruins will win it again. But regardless, Jay says, it has been a great season. They're just happy Boston made it this far.
For Jay, there's always next season — because that means another 82 games to watch with Jacob.
"I can't begin to tell you how much this team has kept us close through the years, and will always," Jay said. "It's the one thing that has kept us bonded."