Throwback Thursday: When Bobby Orr Took Flight
With the Stanley Cup finals continuing apace, let’s take it back to the most famous Bruins Stanley Cup photo ever snapped, and one of the most iconic sports photos of the 20th century. You know the one.
On May 10, 1970, the Bruins were 40 seconds into a sudden death overtime when 22-year-old Bobby Orr snuck the puck past the St. Louis Blues goalie. He raised his hands in celebration just as another player tripped him. Orr had won the Bruins their first Stanley Cup in 29 years, and he’d done it in such dramatic fashion—soaring through the air like Superman with a hockey stick—that the image of the incident has at this point basically overshadowed the achievement it depicted.
The story of the photo is one of being at the right place at the right time. Ray Lussier was shooting the game for the Boston Record American. He didn’t like his spot at the east end of the rink, but thankfully, it was sweltering inside the Garden and a photographer at the other end stepped away to get a beer. Lussier took his place and got in position to grab the photo that would define his career.
The image of Orr flying through the air, seemingly never to land, has taken on a life of its own. There is, of course, the statue of the moment outside the Garden. The photo is for sale on posters and T-shirts. Last year, “Orring” became a popular social media meme around the city as people posted photos of themselves outstretched horizontally holding hockey sticks while in odd places.
The night of Orr’s win, his father told reporters in the locker room, “Maybe I shouldn’t say this, but tonight I don’t care if Bobby gets higher than a kite. He deserves it.” He probably had yet to see the photo of his son showing that he had, in fact, already flown that night.