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Loyal fans dress the part for celebration

After a long wait, a joyful moment savored

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By Andrew Ryan
Globe Staff / June 19, 2011

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Gold confetti floated through the air like sunshine yesterday as Tony Azzarello stood on Staniford Street, waiting for a glimpse of the Stanley Cup and wearing his familiar Bobby Orr T-shirt.

Perched on her dad’s shoulders, Gracie Azzarello, 5, donned a jersey for a new generation of Bruins fans. She wore Number 19 for Tyler Seguin, the teenage phenom known for his skate speed and boyish good looks.

“Seguin is the future. Orr is the past,’’ said Azzarello, 47. “I had stopped following the Bruins. But this playoff run, they brought back my childhood.’’

The jerseys worn to yesterday’s victory parade helped define individuals in a sea of black and gold. Girls professed love for Seguin. Women seemed drawn to Patrice Bergeron. Fighters wore Milan Lucic jerseys. Fans of a certain age paid homage to Orr, Cam Neely, and other Bruins of old.

Short people liked Zdeno Chara, the Bruins’ 6 foot 9 inch captain. And all stripes, from bankers to plumbers, donned number 30 for Tim Thomas, the tough-as-a-tank goalie who led Boston to its first Stanley Cup in 39 years.

“Charlestown wears my jersey,’’ said Shawn Thornton, the Bruins forward who lives in that neighborhood, before yesterday’s parade. “Young girls wear Seguin’s jerseys, we figured that much out. I’m assuming people with a screw loose wear [Brad] Marchand jerseys. I don’t know why you’d wear that thing.’’

Ralph Sherman seemed to fit that bill yesterday as he wore a Marchand jersey and howled with joy as a raucous crowd hoisted him above Causeway Street. A reporter had to ask when he had both feet back on the ground: Do you have a screw loose?

“Not at all,’’ said Sherman, 42, of Ashland, pointing out that Thornton had autographed the sleeve of his Marchand jersey.

Screws loose or not, Marchand supporters seemed to be in their element and looked past his nicknames, which include Squirrel and Rat. “He’s really cute,’’ said Michelle Morrison, 13, of Bedford, N.H.

Morrison’s twin, Heather, had different taste and let the world know by wearing her Lucic T-shirt.

“He fights a lot,’’ Heather said with a smile. Added 8-year-old Sophia Wisnes of Lucic, “He likes to hit.’’

But don’t get Krystelle Dagata, 26, started about Bergeron. At home in Woburn, Dagata sewed a “C’’ on her Bergeron jersey, because she said he should be the Bruins’ captain. Not only did Dagata wear her hero’s T-shirt to yesterday’s parade, but so did her 3-year-old German Shepard.

“His name is Savvy, like [Marc] Savard,’’ Dagata said. “But his last name is Bergeron.’’

The more mature fans, old enough in 1972 to remember the last Bruins’ Stanley Cup, came with their threadbare Orr jerseys and T-shirts. They talked about the last parade and stood out like a retro gang, waxing about Bruins heritage.

“Orr’s a classic. You can’t do better than a classic,’’ said Ken Lamport, 55, who put on his trusty Orr jersey before grilling steak for breakfast yesterday at 5:30 a.m. and driving down from Derry, N.H. “It’s like a [Celtic great Bill] Russell or the Carl Yastrzemski back home in my closet.’’

Will the classic for this generation be Thomas, the team’s most valuable player? Does it matter if the pronunciation of the goalie’s name doesn’t showcase Boston’s accent like that double R in Orr? Maybe Thomas has something else.

“He just seems like a good guy,’’ said Rob Weise, 41, who drove 11 hours for the parade from Kitchener, Ontario.

Some Bruins fans could not be constrained yesterday by a jersey or T-shirt. This crowd brought homemade replicas of the Stanley Cup built with tinfoil, duct tape, and glued-together beer cans. Tanner Holt, 9, from Seabrook, N.H., wore a hat topped with a 12-inch Stanley Cup and a homespun T-shirt that said: “I’ve waited my whole life for this.’’

Then there was Gemma Parabicoli, 20, who spent $37 on body makeup and painted her entire body black and gold — from the top of her bald scalp down to her calf-high black boots. A black bikini top and Bruins boxers covered what makeup could not. Even her lips were half black and half gold.

“I’ve been waiting my whole life to do this,’’ Parabicoli said.

Ryan can be reached at acryan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeAndrewRyan

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