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John Tlumacki/Globe staff
For decades, away from the public eye, Bruins great Bobby Orr has counseled and comforted the sick and dying, the disabled and disenfranchised, the poor and grieving.
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Orr in the mid-1960s, at 14, when he became Bruins property and commuted 300 miles round-trip to play for Boston’s junior team, the Oshawa Generals.
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In 1966, at 18, he was Boston’s most hotly anticipated rookie. Yet he seemed unfazed by the hype and took pains to project himself as just another Bruin.
Orr in 1966. His No. 27 jersey and No. 37 gloves indicate this photo may have been taken on one of his first days with the team.
Frank O’Brien/Globe Staff
From left, Derek Sanderson, Orr, and Phil Esposito in 1970. “Bobby felt very strongly about how you should act. It came to him naturally,” Sanderson said.
Orr’s most legendary goal, May 10, 1970, gave Boston its first Stanley Cup in 29 years.
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In the late 1970s, Orr found Sanderson was abusing drugs and alcohol. “He helped save me,’’ Sanderson said. “Bobby knew it wasn’t going to be an easy process, and he never gave up.”
Bruno Torres /UPI
Orr’s agent, Alan Eagleson, arranged a trade to the Black Hawks in 1976, possibly by withholding details of Boston’s offer. Orr retired in 1978.
STUART CAHILL/AFP/Getty Images
Orr attended the Boston Garden’s closing ceremony in 1995.
Canadian astronaut Robert Thirsk recreated Orr’s goal while orbiting Earth in 1996, wearing one of Orr’s game jerseys and his 1970 Stanley Cup ring.
Thirsk became part of Orr’s second life, when he rebuilt his wealth and found more time to give back to friends and strangers.
Bobby Orr posed with the Gordon family, who live in Hingham.
In an interview last week, Orr declined to discuss his good deeds. “I don’t do things to get ink,’’ he said. “I just sneak along and do my thing and meet wonderful people.”
Keyes Family photo
Bobby Orr holding Kevin Keyes Jr., 6, a hockey fan who is legally blind. “He is the nicest, most generous, most sincere person my children will ever meet,” Kevin’s father said.
Decades after his retirement, children like Gabe Elie, 7, still look up to Orr. “Some kids at school talk about Justin Bieber,’’ said his father, Joe Elie. “Gabe wants to talk about Bobby Orr.’’
Orr’s autobiography, “Orr: My Story,’’ is scheduled for release Oct. 15.
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