(Matt Rocheleau for Boston.com)
With less than two weeks left before the Boston Bruins will have to return the Stanley Cup back to its trustees, patients and staff at Boston Medical Center had a chance this afternoon to spend several precious moments with the hockey hardware won by last season’s champions.
In the hallway of a fourth-floor pediatrics wing, 10-year-old Shykein Basden and his friend 8-year-old Jamari Gaines were among the first at the medical center to lay hands on the Stanley Cup today.
“I was excited,” said Shykein, adding that as he watched the 37-pound, nearly three-foot-tall cup roll in on a cart flanked by its keepers, “I was thinking ‘oh my gosh, look at that big cup.’”
The two boys have shared a room at the medical center since Saturday when Jamari was admitted to receive treatment for severe asthma. He met Shykein, who has sickle cell-anemia, and the two have bonded in part by playing video games together, according to each of the children’s parents, Laticia Gaines and Faroya Basden.
This morning, as word spread around the health center’s campus located near where the South End and Roxbury meet, preparations began.
The two young Bruins fans, dressed in hospital gowns dotted with tired tigers, wore black-and-yellow-colored plastic bead necklaces and bracelets they and others in the medical center made today to show their loyalty to Boston’s latest champions. B's logos, pennants, photos and hand-made signs were hung on hallway walls in the pediatrics wing.
Jamari’s mom said it was an emotional moment to watch her son be able to touch, inspect and pose for photos alongside the coveted silver Cup.
“That’s something that I’m going to be able to cherish and he’ll remember for the rest of his life,” she said, before getting a chance to get close to the cup herself. “That’s something everyone wants for their kids. That special moment.”
Lord Stanley’s Cup is the only championship trophy among the country’s four major professional sports that its annual winners cannot keep forever. A new Cup is not made each year; instead winners’ names are added to its engravings. Hockey’s Holy Grail then tours with each NHL postseason’s victors for 100 days before it must be returned to its trustees. The B’s turn with the Cup expires Oct. 22.
The hometown team had not sipped from the large mug for 39 years. In mid-June, that drought ended when Boston defeated the Vancouver Canucks in the do-or-die seventh game of the finals series capping a dramatic playoff run that led to the Hub’s seventh sports title parade in the span of a decade.
A Bruins championship ring, which boats 311 diamonds, was also passed around for patients and staff at the medical center to try on and admire.
“It’s awesome, totally awesome,” said Mary Ellen McDonough, a registered nurse who works in the pediatrics wing. “I think it’s just cool that the kids got that experience. Our kids were psyched.”
The 59-year-old West Roxbury resident has six brothers, all of whom she said grew up playing hockey and are much more devoted sports fans than she is.
“All of my brothers will be so jealous,” she said, smiling.
E-mail Matt Rocheleau at firstname.lastname@example.org.