BOSTON – As air travelers wind through the Terminal C security gate in Logan International Airport, they’re able to/forced to relive Boston’s sporting success.
Over and over and over again.
Championship banners, 34 in all, hang in chronological order above the concourse. The opulent display is particularly profuse since 2001, with nine banners commemorating titles for all four professional teams - the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins and New England Patriots.
“Boston is a city that likes to win,” said Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, whose team hosts the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday. “Not that others don’t, but they’re accustomed to it.”
Winning has become as common as lobster and clam chowder in Boston. Each organization has pushed the others since the Patriots beat the Rams in 2002. The NFL team has followed with three more Super Bowl victories. The Red Sox ended an 86-year World Series drought in 2004 and have added two more titles since. The Celtics won their 17th NBA title in 2008.
Finally, in 2011, the Bruins joined the parade.
“Winning the Stanley Cup was my proudest moment,” Jacobs said last week. “I’ve watched all the professional sports teams in this city win. There was a strong desire for us to go along and be part of that pattern.”
Since Jacobs bought the team in 1975, the Bruins have reached the Cup final six times, most recently a 2013 loss to Chicago, with 2011 being the lone championship. The Bruins missed the playoffs last year but have rebounded quickly, sitting in a tie for second place in the Atlantic Division with a 19-10-4 record after Tuesday’s 2-0 loss to St. Louis.
It was expected to be a rebuilding year with coach Claude Julien sitting on the hot seat and Don Sweeney taking over as general manager for the fired Peter Chiarelli.
“Did I see us being this competitive right now? I can’t say I really did,” Jacobs said. “I thought it would take perhaps a little more time. They told me early on this is going to be a difficult evolution here.
“The Bruins are evolving into being a very competitive team. You’re seeing the wisdom in some of the calls that were made early on that were tough, and they were tough for me and tough for everybody in the organization, but we find ourselves where we are and I think Donnie’s done a terrific job.”
Jacobs also praised the coaching of Julien. The Bruins are second in goals and have the NHL’s best power play.
“Claude has shown his colors,” Jacobs said. “He has just been very strong. I think he has taken the team and changed them, and he’s showing his mastery of the game.”
Jacobs no longer controls the day-to-day operations of the Bruins, handing the title of CEO to his son Charlie in January. He’s still proud to be the owner in a city where winning is always on display.
“This is the original U.S. market,” Jeremy Jacobs said. “It’s the oldest market, and to me it’s the best hockey market in the country.
“This is a tremendous hockey city. I think this city loves hockey perhaps more than any other sport here. They come out for us. They’re very strong. They’re very critical, which they should be, and they push you a lot. This is a hockey city, and they’re expected to play well.”