right here’s a phrase Keenan turns to typically when requested about her earliest recollections of hockey — one which, for these acquainted, captures all you want to know. “I might name myself an authorized rink rat,” she says. “Rising up, I used to be round my brothers who had been enjoying after we had been youthful. … They’re older than me, so I needed to go to all their practices and scrimmages, all of the tournaments.”
In Dorchester, Mass., that rink-rat standing wasn’t essentially a selection, simply part of life. Brothers Sam and Chris had been suiting up for Dorchester Youth Hockey on the time, the identical group that helped mould native legends Jimmy and Kevin Hayes. Keenan, who was born with osteogenesis imperfecta and has utilized an influence wheelchair since she was three, spent these acquainted hours on the rink doing laps across the concourse with all the opposite younger siblings. Had you caught up along with her to ask throughout these pre-teen years, a life in hockey would’ve appeared removed from her ideally suited plan. If something, the hours on the highway to and from video games cooped up with the stench of sweaty tools had her going within the different course.
It was round 12 years outdated that issues modified, that her gaze started lingering longer and longer when hockey got here on the TV. In the long run, she was pulled in by identical factor that tended to snare many a child round these elements: the glory of that black-and-gold spoked “B.” Earlier than lengthy, she was watching Bruins video games often, getting invested within the names that graced their jerseys, structuring her homework schedule so she wouldn’t miss a single tilt. In that heyday of Boston sports activities, it didn’t take lengthy for the dedication to repay — the subsequent 12 months, 2011, the Bruins gained the Stanley Cup. “That was form of an excellent time to start out being attentive to hockey,” she says with amusing. Regardless of the banners and parades, the remainder of the household’s curiosity within the sport waned. However for the family’s youngest, it solely grew, till it grew to become one thing extra. Now, a decade on, ask Keenan about her Bruins fandom and she or he handles the topic with a grave seriousness — “I really feel, actually, simply amazed that the universe let me witness Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak in the identical lifetime,” she says with a reverence any Bostonian would respect.