Boston College Student Makes an Entire Suit Out of Bruins Rally Towels
It took 27 yellow towels, months of stitching, and a serious love for hockey to create the Towel Suit. But “it was worth it.”
Boston College senior Ken Cruise is a die-hard hockey fan. He always has been. Since he was a kid, Cruise has been either playing or watching hockey in some form.
So it’s no surprise that he went as far as making an entire suit out of Bruins towels after collecting more than two dozen rally rags at a 2011 game at TD Garden. It took months for Cruise to stitch together the plush pieces of cloth that are usually reserved for rowdy fans to twirl above their heads in celebration, but putting together the suit—which includes a tie and deep pockets—has earned Cruise national attention and some face time on the Jumbotron.
We caught up with Cruise, who wore the suit to Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Monday night, and asked him what it’s like to walk around Boston in the summer wearing a suit made of thick fabric with black bear logos all over it.
So, how long ago did you make the suit?
I had the idea to make the suit early on in the 2010-2011 season, but only started making the suit leading up to the 2011-2012 season after I gathered enough towels. After it was finished, I debuted the suit opening night against the Flyers in 2011 when they raised the Stanley Cup banner.
Is the entire suit made of Bruins towels?
I actually used my grandfather’s old blazer as a foundation for the suit, sewing the towels on top of it. After all was said and done, I used 27 towels to make the jacket, pants, and tie.
Did you sew it yourself? Or did you have help from somebody?
Surprisingly enough, I did sew it myself. A lot of trial and error was involved since I was self-teaching the sewing techniques, but it was all worth it. The whole process ended up taking about three months, so I was finished just in time to get back to school in the fall.
We need to know—how comfortable is the towel suit?
It is actually incredibly comfortable, and feels like a really thick bathrobe. The drawback, however, is that it is extremely hot, especially on summer nights like the ones in this deep postseason run.
It seems like people love the idea. What’s the reaction when you go out?
The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. I never get tired of seeing the expressions on peoples faces when they’re not really sure what to say, but can’t help smiling; though, I get scared every once in a while because people will stare at me as they drive by, and I’d rather not cause any accidents. Other than stares, high-fives, and side conversations about “the guy in the suit,” the most common reaction I have noticed is people asking for pictures. Once one person asks, there will often be someone right behind them ready to take another.
Do you think your suit has helped bring good luck to the Bruins?
I think the team is definitely good enough to win without me in the stands. That being said, hockey fans know all too well that superstition clouds the postseason—so whether or not any luck has come at the hands of my suit, I’m not giving up on wearing it any time soon.
How long have you been a Bruins fan?
Lucky for me, BC’s hockey program is no stranger to success, and it’s been a lot of fun following the hockey team there. Being from around Boston, I grew up heavily involved in the deep New England hockey culture. My brothers, James and Matt, and I began playing at age 3. My sister, Carolyn, was always on hand to support us, and my mom and dad spent way more time than normal sitting in cold rinks and driving us to all our practices. My fandom grew from the Mighty Ducks movies to NHL teams—[so] the Bruins were a natural choice.
Back to the towel suit. Can you get a towel suit dry-cleaned?
I actually tried taking it to a dry cleaner, but they said it would fall apart if they tried washing it. So, I’ve taken to steaming it at home and spraying it down with fabric freshener until I can figure out a more permanent solution. I’m very careful not to get it dirty just because I know it would be next to impossible to clean without replacing the towels.
As a hockey buff, how excited were you to be at Game 3 on Monday, donning your suit?
Being at the Stanley Cup [Finals] is a potentially once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and coming from the perspective of someone who was raised around the game, it leaves you in awe to walk in the building and be surrounded by people who love the game just as much as you. The energy at the Stanley Cup is unlike any other sports event I’ve had the fortune of attending. s soon as you walk out of the door, you just cannot wait for the next game to start.