By Ros Krasny
BOSTON (Reuters) - The triumphant Boston Bruins returned home on Thursday to cheers from jubilant fans after winning their first Stanley Cup in 39 years by beating the Vancouver Canucks in the decisive game of the NHL final.
The city will hold a Bruins victory parade on Saturday to celebrate a championship season that was capped by Wednesday's 4-0 Game Seven victory in Vancouver.
"It's awesome. It's an amazing feeling. We are so happy and thrilled. It's unbelievable. I'm so happy for the whole city and the whole organization," said Chara, who at six-foot-nine is the tallest player ever to play in the NHL.
Bruins fans, starved of a victory for decades, poured onto the streets around the stadium and in other downtown areas late on Wednesday after Boston clinched the cup.
The huge crowds were boisterous but mostly good-natured. Police reported seven arrests for trespassing and disorderly conduct -- in contrast to the rioting in downtown Vancouver after the Canucks' defeat.
"It feels great. It's a little surreal and I don't think it's totally set in yet," said a tired-looking Tim Thomas, the Boston goalie who became only the second U.S.-born player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
"It took everything we had to win that series. I'm sure it will sink in sometime."
The Bruins join a winning tradition in New England, where all four major professional sports teams have won championships in the past decade.
"That means a lot to a coach who hadn't won. Those guys are all champions, and I really wanted to join that group," Julien said.
(Additional reporting by Lauren Keiper; Editing by Frank Pingue)