Check my closest and you’ll see jerseys from NFL, CFL, and NHL teams. Talk to a pro and they’ll tell you that they played for the crest on the front, not the name on the back. But names matter. None moreso than Patrice Bergeron, #37 of the Boston Bruins.
We’ve shared a lot of hoilidays but one of the most memorable was going to Boston with Cory and Jean Marc to see a Bruins game at TD Gardens. We stood by the glass during warm-ups and I snapped a fuzzy picture of #37.
My sons bought a #37, 2019 Stanley Cup, Boston Bruins home jersey for me. They hoped we could repeat the magic when the Bruins won in 2011. I wore it during the heartbreak of the Game 7 loss against the Blues. I wore it again in 2020, 2021, 2022 and in May 2023 when the Bruins went down to defeat in Game 7 of Round One of the Stanley Cup. A bitterly, disappointing loss, made even worse because I feared it was my favourite player’s last game. Unfortunately, I was right.
My captain, Patrice Bergeron, announced his retirement on July 25th. The end of an era. His teammates suspected that back in May. Out of respect they kept his decision secret.
Bergy is the classiest player in the NHL, a 6x Selke winner (most ever), a Hall of Famer. He was the guy everyone wanted as a teammate. He played through devastating injuries because he wanted to give everything to help his teammates win. In 2013, Bergeron suffered through a broken rib, a punctured lung, torn cartilage and muscle tissue and a separated shoulder, which he injured during the Game 6 Stanley Cup final loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. Then he shook the hands of the men who did all of that to him and went to the hospital.
This is a portion of his retirement press release. How he expressed himself serves only to raise the level of esteem for him doing the right things in the right way in the right order.
“When I was around 12 years old a teacher asked everyone in my class to write about our dreams. For me, my dream was already clear: to become a professional hockey player.
I was probably a little naive growing up, because in my mind this dream was never a question of IF, but WHEN it would happen. The path to making my dreams come true was not easy. I faced adversity and made so many sacrifices, but throughout it all my love for the game only grew and my determination to achieve my goals always remained strong.
One Team – 20 Years
For the last 20 years I have been able to live my dream every day. I have had the honor of playing in front of the best fans in the world wearing the Bruins uniform and representing my country at the highest levels of international play. I have given the game everything that I have physically and emotionally, and the game has given me back more than I could have ever imagined.
It is with a full heart and a lot of gratitude that today I am announcing my retirement as a professional hockey player.
As hard as it is to write, I also write it knowing how blessed and lucky I feel to have had the career that I have had, and that I have the opportunity to leave the game I love on my terms.
In 2003, the Bruins drafted me, and from the moment I put my draft sweater on, everyone in the organization believed in me. I want to thank the Jacobs family, team management, coaches, trainers, support staff, team doctors and psychologists, scouts and TD Garden staff. The commitment of this group of people and constant support on and off the ice made wearing the Black and Gold so special every day.
One of the best parts of pulling on the spoked-B jersey is the incredible history of the franchise. The players that came before me always welcomed me with open arms and were always there with encouragement, to listen and help me better understand the tradition and responsibilities that come with playing for the Bruins.
While not always easy, I always tried my best to understand that part of being a professional hockey player included my responsibility to the media who helped tell our story to the fans. I enjoyed getting to know some of you personally over the years and I always appreciated being covered fairly and the job that the media did telling the story of our team.
Over the last 20 years I have had the honour of taking the ice with so many great teammates. I have tried to learn something from each and every one of you and I always tried to be the best teammate that I could be.”
Patrice points out the endearing and enduring value of relationships born out of sports.
“I will never forget your trust, the laughs, the endless memories, the ups and downs, and ultimately the long lasting friendships. I will forever be grateful being a part of such an exceptional group of men, and I will carry the pride of winning in 2011 with me forever.
To my wife Stephanie. Steph you’re my rock. You put your career aside and allowed me to pursue my passion. Grateful is an understatement for my appreciation for your sacrifices. You always see the positive in every situation and your unconditional love means the world to me. Most importantly, you always see me as a husband and a dad before a hockey player. The kids and I are so lucky to have you. I love you.
To my wonderful kids Zack, Victoria, Noah and Felix. Daddy loves you so much. As I turn the page on this chapter of my life I am hopeful that through my experiences you realize that anything in your life is possible. Believe in your dreams and follow the voice inside you. Work endlessly for whatever it is that makes your eyes sparkle, and when times are tough, get back up and keep pushing. I’m the prime example that anything is possible and that amazing things happen when you believe in yourself and do what you love. Daddy will always be in your corner no matter where life takes you.
As I step away today, I have no regrets. I have only gratitude that I lived my dream, and excitement for what is next for my family and I. I left everything out there and I’m humbled and honored it was representing this incredible city and for the Boston Bruins fans.
Though he is gone from the ice, I’ll still wear his jersey and hope that those who come after him will help lead the Bruins to another Stanley Cup Championship.
Are you a Bruins fan? Or even a Bruins hater? Bet you have something good to say about #37. Please leave a comment below. Thank you.
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