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Father and son excited for Stanley Cup Final

Canadiens making their first appearance in 28 years
Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 1:03 PM EDT
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GEORGIA, Vt. (WCAX) - A love of hockey runs deep in the Baker family of Georgia.

“My whole family, they were all hockey fans,” said Brayden Baker. “But another thing especially was every Saturday night watching Hockey Night in Canada.”

“If you asked him, his favorite sport probably to watch is hockey,” added Brayden’s father Keith. “And it definitely is one of my favorite sports to watch as well.”

Maybe as a microcosm of NHL fandom in our area, loyalties in the household are split.

“My wife and oldest son are Bruins fans, and then my youngest son actually likes the Blackhawks,” Keith said.

But Keith, the patriarch, successfully convinced Brayden, the second of his three sons to join him on the Montreal Canadiens bandwagon...and he has run with it.

“Being a Canadiens fan, you’re definitely the minority team, compared to most people like the Bruins,” Brayden said. “It’s a whole different experience, whenever they score the whole building shakes. The fans are into it no matter what.”

“His birthday is the first week of January, obviously soon after Christmas,” Keith added. “So between Christmas and his birthday, he had been given money for them as gifts. So he actually came to me one day and said, ‘I have enough money to buy tickets for this game or this game. Would you take us?’”

As a fan since the early 80s, Keith has seen some of the team’s greatest triumphs first hand.

“I have gotten to see them win the Stanley Cup, more than once,” Keith said.

But this Stanley Cup Final will be a first for Brayden.

“When I saw them score the other night, the winner, it was like nothing I’ve ever seen before,” Brayden said. “I’ve never been that excited for sports in my life because I’ve never seen my team like this succeed.”

In a normal year, with Montreal less than 2 hours away, a trip up to Bell Centre to take in the atmosphere and see their team battle for the Cup might be in the offing...but obviously this isn’t a normal year.

“It’s really tough because you wait your whole life to see your team play in a Stanley Cup Finals like this and have a chance to take home the Stanley Cup,” Brayden said.

“It’s unfortunate,” Keith added. “They’re finally there and it’s been a very long time. If we could find tickets or afford tickets or things like that, they’re not a worry per se because we can’t even cross the border.”

So on Monday night, the Bakers huddled around the TV at home to see their team take on Tampa in Game 1. Despite their team once again being big underdogs in the series (and Game 1 only further serving to reinforce that), the Bakers are confident.

“I think if they stick with their strong defensive game, they play a really defensive minded game, and with the strong goaltending of Carey Price, he’s one of the best in the world, you just gotta wait for your opportunities to come,” Brayden said.

“Well they’ve been the underdog all along, which has been a bonus,” Keith added. “I don’t think they have as much pressure on them as the other team.”

And they’re hoping to see the Habs lift the Cup at the end of the series.

“I think it’d mean everything for me,” Brayden said. “I mean I’ve never seen, not only in hockey, but any of my teams win a championship before. It’d be almost surreal.”

Game two of the Stanley Cup Final is Wednesday in Tampa before the series shifts to Montreal on Friday.

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