By Mike LaBella
HAVERHILL — Nicky Mangano says his grandfather James Cassidy loved the Red Sox, Celtics and Patriots, but he wasn't much of a hockey fan. But his grandfather knew that he was and they often talked about it.
Nicky, 16, of Bradford, said that ever since he placed a Bruins game ticket stub in his grandfather's casket two months ago the Bruin's have had a new fan, and have been winning.
"Every time the Bruins win I look up and say 'thanks grandpa,'" Nicky said.
He said his mother Deborah Mangano will look up and say "thanks dad," while his father Nick Mangano will do the same and say "thanks Jim."
As the Bruins continue their march to their first Stanley Cup since 1972, Deborah Mangano says her father may be sending the team good wishes from above.
"Maybe it is due to a little divine intervention," she said. "Maybe he's sending down some good vibes."
At Cassidy's wake, family members had placed Red Sox, Celtics and Patriots caps in his casket.
"On the morning of the funeral, when we were saying our last good-byes," Nicky tucked in his ticket stub," his mother said. "We all said maybe that will bring the Bruins some good luck."
"I was thinking that he didn't have all the sports, so I added the Bruins ticket stub," Nicky said.
Cassidy, a highly decorated World War II Army veteran and North Andover resident, died April 14. He was 85. Cassidy was a long-time weekly Hot Topic contributor to The Eagle-Tribune. This year's Memorial Day Parade in North Andover was dedicated in Cassidy's honor.
Nicky, who just completed his junior year at Central Catholic High School, said his grandfather knew he loved the Bruins.
"When I visited him in the hospital he knew I was sad that he was dying, as we were really close," Nicky said. "He'd ask how they were doing and I'd tell him they were playing well."
When James Cassidy died the Bruins had just started the playoffs against the Montreal Canadians and the Bruins were 0-2.
"At my grandpa's wake I placed a ticket stub from the Dallas Stars game that I attended in February with my dad, my mom and one of my cousins," Nicky said. "And since then the Bruins have been doing really well. They came back from two nothing to win the series in seven games, they swept the Flyers in four, then Tampa in seven, and now they came back to tie Vancouver 2-2," he said as of June 9.
"I think he wanted to do something to make me feel better as I was really sad about his death," Nicky said.
When watching the Bruins on television, Nicky is sure to be wearing a Patrice Bergeron jersey while his dad wears a Bobby Orr jersey.
"As the Bruins were getting close to the playoffs Nick would tell me that he could see the Cup and even taste it, Deborah Mangano said about her husband.
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