There isn’t a hockey fan alive who doesn’t revere the name Bobby Orr. Considered one of the greatest players to ever skate on ice, he led the Boston Bruins to two Stanley Cup titles and garnered nearly every honor professional hockey has to bestow. He was the first player to win three consecutive MVP awards and the first defenseman to score 20 or more goals in a single season. He has also won the Norris Trophy eight times, the Hart Trophy three times, and had six seasons of 100 points or more, resulting in his early induction into the Ice Hockey Hall of Fame at the age of 31.
Orr recently made an appearance at The Harvard COOP bookstore to promote his New York Times bestselling autobiography, Orr: My Story. A private person, Orr has never written a memoir, authorized a biography or spoken to journalists about his life – until now. In his new book, Orr reveals what inspired him to play and what it was like for a small-town boy to suddenly land in the media spotlight. He also talks publicly for the first time about his agent, whom he regarded as a brother, who betrayed him and left him in financial ruin, and what he thinks about the game of hockey today.
Orr’s years of playing for the Boston Bruins have made him a home-town hero in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where The COOP is located. “He is such a beloved figure in the Boston area – and he certainly didn’t disappoint,” said Nancie Scheirer, Tradebook Manager at The COOP. “Even if you don’t know anything about ice hockey, most people know who Bobby Orr is.”
Indeed, even for a generation who has never seen Orr play, the opportunity to meet the hockey legend was a thrill. A line of over 500 fans snaked through three floors of the bookstore to meet the hall-of-famer. “We had a lot of fathers that grew up watching him play who brought their young sons with them – many wearing their Bruins’ jerseys,” Scheirer explained. “You could see the they were in awe of meeting their idol – and Mr. Orr couldn’t have been nicer to his fans – especially the little ones.”
With only two weeks to prepare for the event, The COOP ran ads in the local paper as well as the school paper, The Harvard Crimson. In addition, the bookstore sent emails to its alumni mailing list and sold a number of autographed books over the phone. To promote the event, the bookstore teamed up with a local restaurant, OTTO Pizza, to drive traffic to the book signing. “This is the first time we ever cross-promoted one of our events and it went really well,” said Scheirer. “OTTO’s has a huge Facebook following and promoted the book signing on their fan page. Any customer who brought in a signed copy of Orr’s book would get $1 off a slice of pizza.”
The bookstore also ran a ‘Retweet Contest’ on Twitter. If followers retweeted the message about the book signing, they were eligible to win a free, autographed copy of the book and two premium-seat tickets to the Boston University-Harvard hockey game in January – tickets worth their weight in gold to Boston hockey fans.
“We were really excited about the promotions that we ran and they ended up being very successful,” Scheirer said. “This was truly an exciting event for us and many first-time customers commented on what a fantastic bookstore we have, and that’s really great to hear. We want happy customers who will return and, ultimately, become repeat customers.”