On Thursday, Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney announced the team’s new captain: Winger Brad Marchand.
Then they got serious, and Marchand handed the captaincy to Patrice Bergeron — the team’s 35-year-old veteran centre.
“I’m really looking forward to taking this next step, but I think we all know who the real captain is,” Marchand said, as his teammates burst into applause. “Congrats to Bergy.”
Bergeron shook hands with Sweeney and Bruins president Cam Neely, then accepted his new jersey bearing a “C” in the upper left-hand corner.
“Can’t see, but I’m smiling right now,” Bergeron told his teammates from behind a mask. “It’s a huge honor boys, obviously.”
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) January 7, 2021
Bergeron has been with the Bruins organization since he was drafted in the second round by the team in 2003, and he earned his way into the league as an 18-year-old. Bergeron will fill the role vacated by Zdeno Chara, who had been the team’s captain since 2006 before leaving for the Washington Capitals this offseason.
As Sweeney announced Marchand’s captaincy, Bergeron’s face was unreadable, but he seemed to take the prank in stride.
“As we saw, there’s a lot of guys that deserve the letter,” Bergeron said. “And it’s not about the letter, it’s about coming together as a team, everyone taking ownership of this locker room. As [Sweeney] said, there’s been some amazing captains in the history of this organization, and I’m going to try to better myself and keep leading by example and try to be me, and keep learning from all you guys.”
In his career, Bergeron has tallied 869 points, including 111 in the playoffs. He was part of the 2011 Bruins team that won the Stanley Cup.
In a statement, Neely said Bergeron “embodies what it means to be a Bruin.”
“For 16 seasons we have all watched Patrice grow not only into an elite player but also a tremendous leader,” Neely said. “Patrice represents the Bruins organization and our fans with integrity, determination, and class.”
Bergeron is the 20th team captain in the history of the Bruins. The team’s new alternate captain, centre David Krejci, said the team regarded Bergeron as a captain alongside Chara despite the “A” on his jersey.
“I think it’s going to be amazing,” Krejci said. “You can’t say enough about this guy. He shows up every night to play the game, he shows up every practice, not just on the ice but off the ice. He’s got the right things to say all the time, and it just makes it fun when you have someone there that you can lean on. And he’s a good friend, a good player. You know he has your back. So we have to try to have his back as well and try to make it a fun year for him, first year as captain.”
The Bruins open their season on Jan. 14 on the road against the New Jersey Devils.
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