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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

From Suffolk to the Bruins, Eric Russo is living the dream of the Boston hockey kid

Eric+Russo+interviews+Bruins+players+Jake+Debrusk+and+David+Pastrnak
Photo Courtesy of Eric Russo
Eric Russo interviews Bruins players Jake Debrusk and David Pastrnak

It’s a cold night in January 2015, and a teenager from Everett finds himself parked outside the house of the equipment manager of the New England Patriots. It’s the heart of the deflategate scandal, and his editor has sent him to try to talk to John Jastremski, the manager who has come into question.

The van to his left hosts’ reporters from the Associated Press, and to his right ESPN. He knocks on the door to no response. He leaves after several hours empty handed. But Eric Russo’s career has barely begun.

It’s been over 5 years since Eric Russo was stalking out John Jastremski’s house as a part-time writer for the Boston Globe. After graduating from Suffolk University in 2015 and holding several positions within the Boston Bruins organization, he now serves as a digital content specialist for the Bruins. 

As a local kid, to be able to work for your hometown team is amazing. I don’t take that for granted. I try to appreciate it every day,” said Russo, an Everett native. “There’s been some times over the years where I’ve had to step back and appreciate it, whether it be going to China with the Bruins or to going to the winter classic at Notre Dame, or going through two Stanley cup final runs.”

Russo’s main responsibility as a digital content specialist is managing the Bruins’ website and social media channels. 

He jokingly clarified that he has passed on TikTok responsibilities to another employee.

“I report, I’m the on camera guy for our daily news packages and our one on ones and any other things that require a host. I also do a lot of writing for the site,” he said.

Despite being a print/web journalism major while at Suffolk, he spent a lot of time in Suffolk’s Studio 73 partaking in a sports talk show with several friends, titled “Clash of the Rams.”

“I can’t imagine my 4 years at Suffolk without [Clash of the Rams]. I always tell people it’s great to learn things in the classroom and from professors and teachers, but being able to be in the studio and in front of the camera on a regular basis was huge,” said Russo.

Russo became close with then Professor Anthony “Tony” Ferullo during his time at Suffolk. 

“Not only did I respect him as a professor, but he’s also a local guy so we also bonded on our local connections,” said Russo. “He took to me a little bit and acted as a mentor.”

Ferullo was Russo’s professor for Journalism 1 and is now a senior staff writer for Suffolk University’s Office of Public Affairs. 

Eric Russo was one of the best students I’ve ever had,” said Ferullo. “What I liked about Eric was he would ask me more questions after class. He wanted more details and he always wanted to improve. That was the big thing. He always wanted to get better.”

Russo’s journey to the Bruins began before his time at Suffolk. He had met the Sports editor of the Boston Globe at a seminar just before graduating high school. 

“He sort of had a throwaway line at the end where he was like if you get to college and you’re still interested in journalism, reach out to me,” said Russo. “Finally a few weeks before I was about to start at Suffolk one of my friends from Everett high went in for an interview and got brought in.”

Several weeks later, Russo went to the Globe and was also hired. He progressed from answering phones to covering high school sports and then got the chance to cover Patriots training camp. His pride at the Globe was writing the weekly College Hockey Notebook.

Russo’s Bruin’s life began in the spring of 2011, covering games for the Suffolk Voice through the Bruins Press Pass program, which allowed college newspapers to come in and cover home games. He then became a web intern for the Bruins in his sophomore year. Russo was accepted as an intern during the NHL player lockout of 2013, so he was unsure if there was even going to be a season. 

“Fortunately, they came to an agreement and it turned out to be one of the most memorable runs,” said Russo. “We had the marathon bombing obviously, which was unlike anything we’d ever seen, and to see how the city and the team responded was amazing.”

Russo was at TD Garden during the Marathon in preparation for the game that was supposed to be played that night. He was also present for when the game was eventually played, and when the crowd took over Rene Rancourt’s singing of the national anthem. 

“There’s never been that kind of emotion in the building that I’ve experienced,” he said.  “Being from Boston it was a great proud moment for the city. Being there for that moment is something I’ll always cherish.”

Bruins fans will know that the 2013 season was far from over at that point. 

“I thought that was the end of my internship, that night, and it turned into another 2 months of playoff hockey, so that night is definitely top three for me too,” said Russo in reference to the Bruins Game 7 comeback against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2013 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. The Bruins overcame a 4-1 third period deficit to beat the Maple Leafs in overtime. 

After that internship concluded, Russo returned for the 2014-2015 season as part of the game night staff. He transitioned to a full time position in February of 2016 as a secondary reporter and social media manager before coming to his current position in December of 2017. 

“Wherever the Bruins go, I am usually there,” said Russo of his current position. “I’m used to being in the room, I’m used to being around the staff and the coaches and everybody.” 

Such has not been the case in 2020. The Bruins season was cut short in March due to COVID-19 and when it resumed, Russo was not able to join them in the “bubble” in Toronto. 

“It’s been hard to feel that you’re connected to everybody,” said Russo. “For me back here having to post on social media and having to write and do stuff remotely, it’s just not the same. You don’t get the same feeling for what’s going on.” 

Nonetheless, Russo is still living out the dream of the hockey kid from Everett.

“There’s still guys that I work with on a daily basis that I grew up adoring, the Bergerons and the Charas, and even Marchand,” Russo said. “When I was in high school and they won the cup in 2011 those were my guys. And now I get to work with them on a daily basis and they know you on a personal level.”

“It’s still sort of surreal for me,” he continued.  “I know it’s cliche that people say you want to do something that you don’t feel like is a job, and I feel that way.”

Follow JD on Twitter @jdconte617

 

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About the Contributor
JD Conte, Sports Editor | he/him
JD is a senior from Wallingford, Conn. double majoring in political science and broadcast journalism. Aside from writing for the journal, JD can often be found in Studio 73 working on his broadcast skills. Off-campus JD can be found watching all the Boston and UCONN sports teams. He enjoys spending time with his family and friends in various spots around the city, especially in East Boston and the North End. After graduation JD hopes to work in a newsroom full-time or pursue a career in the sports industry. Follow JD on Twitter @jdconte617 Email him at [email protected]

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From Suffolk to the Bruins, Eric Russo is living the dream of the Boston hockey kid