The Boston Bruins Alumni have been around for more than 50 years, and each of the players on the roster has either skated in at least one game for the Black and Gold, the Providence Bruins or they have been made an honorary member. For New England native Frank Simonetti, it’s quite an honor to be a part of the legacy.

Simonetti, who is from Stoneham, Ma., recently took the time to talk with about what it was like to play for the team he grew up cheering for as a child.

“It doesn’t get any better than that. Having that opportunity for me. Being a local kid playing for the local team — just was magic,” Simonetti told “Just incredible. What an opportunity because you watch them growing up and now you’re playing with them.”

It wasn’t just playing alongside players like Terry O’Reilly and Ray Bourque, but being a part of the rich history his father, Frank, loved.

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“Being fortunate as alumni in the late 80s, for me to play with John Bucyk; to be coached by Milt Schmidt and Woody Dumart. These guys played in the 40s and the 50s and 60s,” Simonetti said. “I never saw them play because I was too young but my father sure did and he loved them.”

Simonetti played Division III hockey for Norwich University in the mid-80s and went undrafted after graduating. The defenseman explained in 1984 he was invited to a Pro-Am summer camp run by Bruins scout Joe Lyons to play in their Hingham Summer League with the hopes of getting an invitation to training camp in the fall — which he did.

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“Pretty cool. I know nothing about pro sports really. I’ve never been to a camp. No one tells you anything,” Simonetti explained. “So the rookies on day two or three get bussed down to Hartford to play the Hartford Whalers rookies. So, we have a rookie game.”

Simonetti said he thought he did “okay” but nothing was really articulated to him one way or the other. That weekend the Bruins headed to New York to play back-to-back games against the Buffalo Sabres in Rochester and Lake Placid. Bruins coach Gerry Cheevers slated Simonetti to make the trip with Boston, something he was not expecting.

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The rookie, who was still fighting for a spot with the club, had to tell the Cheevers that he couldn’t make the trip because he was in his sister’s wedding that weekend. Much to Simonetti’s surprise, Cheevers offered to hold the plane for him.

“Now, I’m told I went to this wedding,” Simonetti said with a laugh. “I don’t remember a thing. Nothing. Really, because I was thinking about something else, right? … They held the plane. I wasn’t late, but I was the last guy and it’s interesting as a rookie walking on the plane last.”

Simonetti played in nine of the 11 preseason games during camp that year and the final tuneup was in Providence against the reigning Stanley Cup champion New York Islanders who put out their full NHL roster for the game.

“I scored the game-winning goal in overtime,” Simonetti said. “This is part of my favorite moment. I signed my professional contract on the bus on the way down.”

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It was official, Simonetti was a Boston Bruin. Simonetti was assigned to the AHL team to start the season but was called up prior to Christmas and spent the remainder of the season in the NHL.

“It took a while you know, sitting next to Terry O’Reilly on the bench going, ‘Okay, I’m his teammate now, not just a fan,'” Simonetti said. “That goes away fast, but still — Ray, (Rick Middleton), Terry, they’re all great guys. So, that was easy.”

Simonetti played 115 games over the course of four years for the Bruins, and due to a knee injury he retired from the sport in 1988. These days, 35 years later, Simonetti still puts on his skates and pulls on a Bruins jersey as the president of the Boston Bruins Alumni.

Featured image via Craig Michaud/Craig Michaud Photography