The Boston Bruins had a fantastic year, if their playoff stain can be wiped clean. They finished the regular season with the best record in NHL history and claimed several NHL awards, including goalie Linus Ullmark taking home the Vezina Trophy for best goaltender in the league. All of this was possible thanks to the leadership of captain Patrice Bergeron, both on and off the ice.
The 38-year-old center took home hardware of his own, being awarded his sixth Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defender in the league. However, as it turned out, Bergeron’s latest Selke win would be his last. This past Tuesday, Bergeron announced his retirement from the NHL. He leaves behind a more-than-memorable legacy, featuring over 1,000 points in his 19 NHL seasons, all played with the Bruins.
In his nearly two decades as a Bruin, Bergeron helped lead his team to its sixth Stanley Cup in 2011, which at the time was the first championship for the franchise in nearly 40 years. Since Bergeron’s rookie season in 2003, the Bruins have only missed the playoffs four times. The future hall of famer had a hand in elevating his team on the ice, and now he turns the page to life after hockey.
In a statement to the fans, Bergeron wrote that he leaves the beautiful game of hockey on good — and his own — terms after conversation with his wife, as well as taking into account the messages from his body.
“As I step away today,” Bergeron wrote in a statement to NHL.com July 25, “I have no regrets. Only gratitude that I lived my dream.”
While Bergeron played exceptional hockey throughout his career, he was known not only by Bruins fans, but all NHL fans alike, for his remarkable leadership.
He founded Patrice’s Pals, a charity organization that allowed sick children to experience Boston Bruins hockey, as well as have meet-and-greet times with both the foundation’s namesake and other members of the squad.
In a farewell video, defenseman Charlie McAvoy promised to “take care of what (Bergeron) built here,” while Jake DeBrusk named Bergeron as “someone we all want to be like.”
Even Penguins legend Sidney Crosby, notorious for steering clear of social media, took to his team’s official Twitter to congratulate Bergeron on a stellar career.
Though Bergeron’s successor as captain has not yet been named, it’s clear whoever they may be has a solid, shining example before them.