April 23, 2018
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Bruins alums set for benefit game at UM


Brad Park is in the National Hockey League Hall of Fame. Terry O’Reilly had his No. 24 retired by the Boston Bruins. Rick Middleton had 988 points in 1,005 NHL games and spent 12 seasons with the Bruins.

And Bruce Crowder will be enjoying somewhat of a homecoming.

Crowder, Park, O’Reilly and Middleton will be among the players in uniform when the Boston Bruins Alumni team will face a “local legends” team in a benefit hockey game Friday night at 7 at the University of Maine’s Alfond Arena.

The proceeds will go to the Junior Black Bears hockey organization.

The local legends team will include former Montreal Canadiens star Stephane Richer.

Tickets range from $20 to $25 and can be obtained at the Alfond Arena box office or by calling 207-581-BEAR (2327) or 1-800-756-TEAM (8326).

Crowder was a former assistant coach at the University of Maine under the late Shawn Walsh before becoming the head coach at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and Northeastern University.

He is currently the northeast regional sales manager for the Atrium Medical Corp.

Crowder said the other members of the alumni team will include Bob Sweeney, Bruce Shoebottom, Cleon Daskalakis, Guy Larose, Nevin Markwart, Reggie Lemelin and Bobby Miller.

“It’s always fun to go back to Orono,” said Crowder, who lives in Nashua, N.H., with his wife Lucie. “The people up there treated me so nice. I have a lot of fond memories.”

The Bruins alumni will also play benefit games in Moncton, New Brunswick, and Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Saturday and Sunday.

He said the game in Orono will be three 15-minute periods as opposed to the three 20-minute periods that hockey games last at the pro and college level. He said they sometimes play two 30-minute halves with running time.

Crowder explained that the alumni team will play as many as nine games this month and it helps raise money for a variety of causes.

“It’s a good thing to be involved in,” he said. “We don’t take it too seriously. We always have fun.”

There won’t be any slap shots or body checks.

“Everybody has to go to work on Monday and you don’t want to be banged up,” he explained.

Crowder has played in all but a couple of their games within the last month.

“We like to think we’re the Harlem Globetrotters and win every time. But we’ve lost a couple of games this winter. I wasn’t there so it wasn’t my fault,” he quipped.

The 53-year-old Crowder, who played in 243 NHL games for the Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins and had 47 goals and 51 assists, said he also enjoys playing because it helps keep him in shape.

“I’ve done a lot of things trying to stay in shape like treadmills and bikes, but this is still the best workout you can get,” said Crowder. “You move your upper torso and your lower torso and there’s still skill in it.”

He said the teams they play vary.

“Sometimes you play against fathers and sons, sometimes it’s against police or fire departments,” said Crowder. “We played one game against a bunch of surfers from the Hampton Beach area. We also played a team of military guys who were raising money for a soldier who lost his legs in Iraq or Afghanistan.”

“It’s nice to be able to do it,” said Crowder, who added that the Bruins alumni get together after the games and swap stories.

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