MATAWAN–While Boston Bruins defenseman and Matawan native Connor Clifton geared up to play in the fourth game of the NHL’s Stanley Cup Finals on June 3, more than 100 Matawan residents gathered at Toomer Field to watch the game.
The residents assembled that night at the park, which is located on Middlesex Road, to watch the game on a giant outdoor TV screen.
Before the game, Matawan Mayor Joseph Altomonte and Council President Brett Cannon presented Clifton’s parents, Tim Clifton and Joan Clifton, his girlfriend’s grandmother Marilyn Thompson and girlfriend Amanda Thompson with a proclamation declaring June 3 “Connor Clifton Day.”
“Connor Clifton began this season 11th on Boston’s defensemen chart but played in 19 NHL games because of teammates’ injuries,” Altomonte said. “He managed to parlay that into a regular role during the Stanley Cup playoffs. He has played in 13 of Boston’s 18 games and has five points, [with] two goals and three assists.”
On May 27, Clifton played in the opening game of the Stanley Cup Finals against the St. Louis Blues, and he scored the first of four unanswered goals to help the Bruins win, 4-2.
“Now, therefore, be it resolved I, Joseph Altomonte, mayor of the Borough of Matawan, on behalf of the borough and the council, do hereby proclaim June 3 as ‘Conner Clifton Day’ within the borough,” Altomonte said. “I urge all citizens to gain with us in congratulating him on a successful season and wish him continuous success in all his future endeavors.”
Sporting Boston Bruins jerseys, bringing their own lawn chairs and ordering food from the Toomer Field concession stand, residents, as well as Clifton’s family and friends, convened around the giant screen to show support for Clifton and his team.
Clifton’s mother Joan Clifton said, “I think it’s awesome. Basically, we grew up in this area. Clifton has played both baseball and soccer with everyone and it’s just a wonder to see the community come together and support him, so it’s very exciting. We didn’t tell him about it, we figured he might get nervous, so we kept the news from him.”
The Bruins lost Game 4 game of the series to the Blues by a 4-2 final score. They eventually lost the series, too, in seven games. St. Louis won Game 7, 4-1, on June 12 at TD Garden in Boston. That was the first Stanley Cup ever won by the Blues.
Even though his team lost, Clifton contributed on the score sheet to two Boston victories in the series. He recorded that goal in game one and an assist in game three.
The 24-year old defenseman came a long way during the 2018-19 NHL season. He played a key role in hockey’s biggest event and even got a holiday named after him in his hometown.
Contact Vashti Harris at email@example.com.