As far as Bruins fans go, Brogan Beliveau and Charlie Kain are in a league of their own.
Win or lose, rain or shine, ride or die — they’ll be at the Jack hours before every home game, staying long after the Bears come off the ice. They do it freely, year after year, because they’re part of the team.
Kain, 37, said he and Beliveau come out for Bruins at least once a week — twice whenever they play a two-game series at home. From the moment they get to the arena, they make sure the players have everything they need: water, ice-packs, sticks, hockey tape — whatever.
“I love meeting the new team every season,” he told The Gazette. “And I love seeing the veterans who come back. I love greeting the fans, too.”
Beliveau, 32, said he handles the team’s water and ice-packs. “And I blow the horn every time the Bruins score a goal,” he boomed, smiling from ear-to-ear.
The bulk of their labour comes after the final whistle, when they wash, dry, fold and put away the boys’ gear. After two laundry loads of jerseys, a load of socks and another load of towels, it’s at least 2 a.m., though it’s not unusual for them to wrap up at 5.
It’s yeoman’s work, but Kain said it’s not a grind. To pass the time between washing and drying cycles, he and Beliveau retire to watch movies on the DVD player in Kain’s van.
It was after one of these interludes that Beliveau said he took a nasty spill.
If it sounds awful, it bears stressing here that Beliveau’s characteristic grin never left his face as he told the story.
The Bruins had just finished two home games in as many nights, and the duo was running on fumes. Watching a movie into the wee hours of the morning, warm and cozy in the van, Beliveau fell asleep.
It wasn’t the first time, Kain said. “When that happens, I’m not going to wake him up — I’m not that mean,” he laughed. Leaving his friend to rest, Kain left to put a load of laundry on to dry.
“When I woke up and I saw that Charlie wasn’t there, I got out — fast,” Beliveau said, explaining that he didn’t want Kain to have to work alone.
In his hurry to shut the door, Beliveau tripped off the van’s running board, breaking his fall with an outstretched hand. He was hurt badly and he knew it. But he carried on as if nothing had happened.
“I didn’t even tell my mom,” he chuckled. “But when I woke up that morning, it really hurt!”
Kain said he realized what had happened when he caught up with Beliveau later that morning. “I took one look at the swelling on his arm and I said, ‘Brogan, you’re going to the hospital. Now. There’s no question about it.’”
With that, Beliveau and his stepdad were off to Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital in Trail.
“When the doctor looked at my X-ray, he told me I’d broken both bones in my wrist,” Beliveau said — still beaming. “I had to have surgery!”
That was in 2019, before the COVID-19 scuttled the Bruins’ next season.
Now that they’re back on the ice, Beliveau said he hopes they’ll make it past the first round of the playoffs.
“If we win the first round, then who knows? We’ll see how far we get!”
Speaking for the Bruins, head coach and GM Dave Hnatiuk said everyone appreciates the duo’s efforts.
“They take a lot of pride in what they do and it shows,” he said. “They’re at the rink every day and the guys really like having them around.”
Kain started volunteering with the Bruins when he was 16. Now in his 20th season, he said he looks forward to many more to come. Beliveau has been volunteering for five seasons.
At a chance meeting with this reporter Friday afternoon, Nov. 5, he had one question for The Gazette: “Are you coming to the game tonight?”