BOSTON — Imagine you're a Boston Bruins season ticket holder attending the first Stanley Cup Final game in the city since 1990. You assume some of your usual game-night buddies have sold their tickets for a hefty profit; and that there's a chance a Vancouver Canucks fan or two could invade your section.
But you probably don't assume those Vancouver Canucks fans will be clad head-to-toe in green spandex.
The Green Men, whose penalty box prop comedy in Vancouver made them an NHL sensation, traveled to Boston thanks to roughly $3,700 in sponsorship money from Travelzoo. They sat in Loge End 7 at the TD Garden for Game 3. Dozens of Bruins fans swarmed them for photos; but many of the Bruins fans seated around them were less than enthused.
"They definitely need to have a jersey on. You don't wear that kind of outfit to a hockey match," said Boston fan Roberto Droppo.
"It reveals too much," added Derek Schultz, seated next to him, one row in back of the Green Men.
"They don't have much ... but it reveals too much," responded Droppo.
The attention the Green Men, otherwise known as Force and Sully, attracted during the game and between periods was a point of resentment for the Bruins season ticket holders in the section.
"They're annoying. Everybody's gotta come around and get their picture taken with them during the game. Too much calamity. The focus is supposed to be on the ice, not behind me," said Bruins fan Joe Santos, seated one row ahead of the Green Men.
During the second intermission, a group of about 30 fans crowded around the row where the Green Men were seated immediately following the end of the second.
"Those guys? Who are disturbing my section?" said Mark Squillacioti, seated two rows in back of the Green Men, when asked about his temporary neighbors.
He and his row mates felt the Bruins ticket holders that sold those seats -- which are now selling for well over $1,000 for Game 4, according to StubHub --were traitorous ... as were the fans fawning over the Green Men.
"When you're taking pictures with the enemy … that's like a Red Sox fan takin' a picture with Derek Jeter because he's walking down the street!"
Eventually during the second intermission, the fans' complaints were heard. The Green Men were relocated into the concourse, where more Boston fans took photos with them … and more Boston fans expressed their displeasure with the scene.
"Traitors! You're all traitors!" one yelled at the photo opportunists.
"[Expletive] the Green Guys!" a few chanted as they walked by.
So the Canucks taunters were getting taunted, which was understandable given their attire, their location and the scoreboard, which read 4-0 after two periods and 8-1 at the end of the game.
What was their Game 3 experience like? From News 1130:
Force says the turning point was when the Canucks' Aaron Rome nailed Boston's Nathan Horton in the first period. "While he was unconscious on the ice everyone just turned on us, calling us a cheap team. They're really angry about Alex Burrows and the whole biting incident. We had three guys just turn and say if you say one word we'll beat you up and threatened to punch us - that was when the cops got involved."
But Force says a majority of fans they encountered were great. "During the first intermission and stoppages in play, fans were coming down to our section and asking for photos. During the second intermission they brought us into the corridor, set up a wall of police and then one at a time people could come up and take a photo if they wanted. TD Garden did a great job protecting us and the fans had a good time."
When they weren't taking photos, they were sitting sullenly, watching their team get played out of the arena. No props, no antics … just taking frequently profane grief from the home fans.
"People were talking stuff to them. I thought it might have gotten ugly. But everything was under control when an officer came by and said everybody had to cool it down," said Santos.
"These guys behind me in the green suits, I don't really enjoy havin' them here. But when I look up at the scoreboard, I kind like that part."