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By James Ensor
Hometown Weekly Reporter
Decked out in black and gold, Blades the Bear stood at the front of the large community room at the Needham Library in front of a crowd of adoring fans both young and old. Kids answered trivia questions, heard a story of how Blades gained his mascot fame, colored in their own paper goalie masks, took photos with Blades and an Ice Girl, and of course, ate a Bruins-themed cake.
Two of the young super-fans in attendance were Conor, 9, and Ryan, 10, who are both young hockey players who traveled from Malden to enjoy this special event. As part of the “On Your Mark, Get Set, … Read!” program, the Blades event served especially well as a capstone to a summer of reading. Sports-related film features also were an integral part of the summer reading program in Needham, but these Blades visits demonstrated the Bruins’ commitment to team up with libraries across the state to keep kids and teens reading.
“There are only a certain number of libraries through the state that get a visit from Blades through the Mass Board of Library Commissioners,” said Paula Dugan, Needham Librarian. “It’s part of their ‘When You Read You Score’ program, which the Bruins sponsor every year in conjunction with the state. Needham is a big hockey town and we were very excited to get Blades here, especially with the sports theme for the summer reading program.”
After getting all their photos with Blades, learning about hockey and the Bruins, playing games and eating cake, all the grinning young hockey fans filed out with goodie bags. The goodies included posters, stickers and information about the team - not to mention some encouragement to keep reading.