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BOSTON (CBS/AP) – The Boston Bruins made their celebratory trip through city streets with hundreds of thousands of fans crowding the sidewalks to see them — and the Stanley Cup — in a rolling rally honoring the NHL champions Saturday.
They left the Garden in 18 duck boats, led by captain Zdeno Chara who raised the Cup over his head then passed it to playoff MVP Tim Thomas, who held it up, smiled and waved to the fans.
After they took turns raising the Cup, security took it from one slow-moving duck boat after another so all the players had a chance to hold it.
Chara even climbed down to the street so fans could touch it.
Crowds were so deep on the sidewalks that many fans might not have been able to see the players.
Photos: Bruins Stanley Cup Parade
The exact size of the crowd is still not known, but many people believe it’s the largest parade in the city since the 2004 Red Sox rolling rally.
“I believe it,” said Brad Marchand from his Duck Boat.
“It seems like every person in Boston is here. It’s unbelievable.”
WBZ NewsRadio 1030′s Bernice Corpuz reports
One fan told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 he came to the 1972 celebration, but this crowd was “ten times as big.”
Watch Parade Highlights From WBZ-TV
“I can’t believe how many people are here right now,” said Patrice Bergeron mid-parade. “It proves that Boston is a hockey town, a sports town, and the best fans in the world. Thank you.”
WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche reports
“It’s awesome to be sharing it with everybody. This is the day you look forward to,” said Conn Smythe winning goaltender Tim Thomas.
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“I knew it would be crazy, but I didn’t expect it to be this crazy,” team president Cam Neely said.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030′s Carl Stevens reports
As the nearly two-hour rolling rally neared its end Saturday afternoon, Andrew Ference raised one finger, then two, then three, orchestrating a familiar chant.
“Let’s Go Bruins,” the fans responded. “Let’s Go Bruins.”
WBZ-TV’s Alana Gomez reports
There were no reports of major trouble.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030′s Doug Cope reports
Boston police said they arrested nine people, most for public drinking and disorderly conduct.
One person was taken out of Copley Square after having passed out, apparently from heat exhaustion.
(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)