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OVER FIVE DECADES MILT SCHMIDT LIVED NEARLY EVERY BREATH AS A Bruin, serving as a player, captain, coach and general manager. Schmidt, now 93, was at TD Garden as honorary fan banner captain for Game 6 of the finals. He spoke with SI's Sarah Kwak.
SI: You got quite an ovation before Game 6, the last home game of the finals. Have you ever heard such cheers before?
MS: No, I don't think I have. It's something that when I was just knee-high to a grasshopper I never ever thought would happen to me. But when I was 12 years of age, not doing my homework, the principal, who I had to go see several times, used to say, "What is ever going to happen to you, Milton?" And I said to him, "I'm going to be a professional hockey player." That was hoping at that stage, but actually being there and receiving the ovation that I got last night ... everything was worthwhile.
SI: What was the most thrilling achievement of your career?
MS: When I was 21 years of age, our team won our first Stanley Cup. [The Bruins would win again in 1940--41.] There have been other awards, but winning the Cup, to me, was the most outstanding moment of my life. You have so many players today who are great but have never been on a Stanley Cup--winning team. That's what you dream about.
SI: You played with your childhood friends from Kitchener, Ont., Bobby Bauer and Woody Dumart, on the Kraut Line, and each of you finished in the top three in league scoring in 1939--40. What made that line so special?
MS: Bobby was a very brainy hockey player, which he had to be because he wasn't the biggest player in the world. Woody had great hockey sense too, but besides that, he had a great shot and a heavy shot, and he was a good defensive hockey player as well. As far as yours truly is concerned, I'm not quite sure. Maybe I had a strong back and a weak mind [laughs]. But the three of us gelled, and one reason why we had the success that we had was that when we were at home, we all roomed together, and we did nothing but talk about hockey.