Throwback Thursday: World War II POWs asked Bruins to reserve playoff seats

American soldiers in World War II were just as passionate about the Bruins as the fans pictured above.
Greg M. Cooper/Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Even in times of war, Boston fans are loyal to their teams. On Veterans Day Wednesday, a hockey fan who also has an interest in history shared a newspaper clipping from World War II that described a group of 11 American prisoners of war’s request for Bruins manager Art Ross to save some playoff tickets for them. 

For those who find it hard to read, the text of the article is as follows:

BOSTON, Feb. 8 (U.P.) – Eleven Boston war prisoners in Germany asked Manager Art Ross of the Bruins today to reserve seats for them at one of the Stanley Cup hockey play-off games in March.

Ross received a letter from John J. Barrio, 24, who was forced down while piloting a bomber over Germany more than a year ago, which contained the request.

From Kriegsgefangenenlager, dated Nov. 29, the letter said:

“I am writing on behalf of myself and about ten other local boys who would appreciate your reserving seats for us for one of the play-off games in March. We have implicit faith in the United States forces and the Bruins.”

It’s impressive to see the soldiers so hopeful about both an American victory in the war as well as a postseason appearance by the hometown Bruins. Boston did make the playoffs in 1945, but they lost in the semifinals to the Detroit Red Wings.  

The teams had some of its own players pause their hockey careers to fight for the Allies in World War II. Bruins Milt Schmidt, Woody Dumart, Bobby Bauer and Frank Brimsek all joined the war effort. 

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