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Bobby Orr reflects on the Bruins’ 1970 championship — and a misbehaving cat

Bobby Orr is 72 now and living Florida.
Bobby Orr is 72 now and living Florida.John Tlumacki/Globe staff

That darn cat.

Bobby Orr still has the puck that went in the net on May 10, 1970, to win the Stanley Cup for the Bruins, and the stick that sent it over the line. That memorabilia sits at his home and in a museum in his hometown of Parry Sound, Ontario.

More artifacts might have survived if not for a long-lost feline, the name and breed of which remain a mystery.

“I had all my equipment,” Orr recalled. “When I came back from Chicago [in 1978], I threw my duffel bag in the basement. We had a babysitter with us, and she had a cat.”

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One day, Orr asked his wife, Peggy, to air out his bag of gear so he could play in an old-timer’s game.

“The cat had been using it as a litter box," he said. "The equipment ... all gone.”

Orr, speaking to a small group of Boston reporters on the phone Wednesday morning, reflected on the 1970 Stanley Cup team, its legacy, and his life after hockey.

Now 72, he is at his winter home in Jupiter, Fla. He and Peggy live near one of their two sons, Brent. Orr had two knee surgeries, plus procedures on a hip and a shoulder, in the last 18 months, but he said he is well.

Bobby Orr at his home.
Bobby Orr at his home.JohnTlumacki/Globe staff

“It’s pretty quiet down here,” he said. “We get outside, hit a couple golf balls, walk around the neighborhood. It’s going to be a pretty quiet Mother’s Day. To all the mothers out there, Happy Mother’s Day.”

During the call, Orr paid tribute to several people associated with the Bruins who are no longer with us: former teammates Gary Doak (“my roommate”), Garnet “Ace” Bailey, John “Pie” McKenzie, Teddy Green, and Billy Speer, trainer John “Frosty” Forristall, general manager Milt Schmidt, owner Weston Adams, coach Tom Johnson, and journalist Russ Conway.

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He shared hockey memories galore. Like this: When he flew across Glenn Hall’s crease 50 years ago, was it the power of Noel Picard’s stick lifting him up or was it Orr celebrating?

“Both,” he said. “He did lift me. But I saw it go in and I was also jumping with joy.”

That era was so special to so many here. Was it as special for him?

“Absolutely,” he said. “I think we had a very strong bond with the fans. Our guys were out everywhere. Fans weren’t nervous to walk up to them, approach them. We were out doing clinics and so on.

"It was a very, very special time for all of us. We were in a position to realize a dream.

"I don’t think we had any players on the team that had won a Cup. It was very special for everyone.”

How much is he missing hockey during the coronavirus shutdown? As much as you’d think. He was preparing to return to Boston and enjoy a long Bruins postseason run.

Bobby Orr's presence looms large on Causeway Street
Bobby Orr's presence looms large on Causeway StreetElise Amendola

The impetus for the call, of course, was the 50th anniversary of his goal and that Stanley Cup championship, but Orr took a larger perspective.

“We’re celebrating a sporting event,” he said. “I think it’s a good time to celebrate and thank all the front-line workers, first responders, all the different organizations that are health-care providers. They’re saving lives and comforting so many people.

“For me, I played a game. They call us heroes. I don’t think so. We owe them so much.”

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On that note, Orr revealed a surprise during the call. The Bruins Foundation had already announced that it is raffling off a replica of the Orr statue “The Goal,” with proceeds going to organizations that benefit first responders in the battle against the pandemic; but not only will Orr place a call to the party of the winner’s choice on Mother’s Day, he also plans to visit the winner in person once it is appropriate to do so.

Other quick hits from No. 4:

▪ The cities he enjoyed playing in most: “Montreal and Toronto, the two meccas of hockey.”

And Manhattan was always fun.

“The fans in New York were always great. We had a back door we would sneak out of [Madison Square] Garden. I’m walking down the street and some fans started hooting and hollering. I kind of turned one night and I’m yelling back at them, and what do you think I do? I run into a pole. That was a great laugh in New York.”

▪ On Hall, the Hall of Fame goalie in the famous photo: “[He] played [502] consecutive games. Won two Stanley Cups. One of the great, great goaltenders. And poor Glenn, this is what they want to ask him about — a goal.

"It’s terrible. He was one of the greatest! That’s just wrong.”

Hall, 88, lives in Stony Plain, Alberta, and told NHL.com reporter Dave Stubbs last year that he has lost no sleep over it.

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“I’ve got MANY copies of this autographed photo at home,” Hall said. “And I still think it might have been Bobby’s only NHL goal.”



Matt Porter can be reached at matthew.porter@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter: @mattyports