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Patrice Bergeron: A Pal To Many
- Updated: June 23, 2014
Patrice Bergeron’s on-ice prowess is well known. The Boston Bruins alternate captain has been a key member of the team since 2003, a big reason Boston hoisted the cup in 2011, and his numbers this year speak for themselves: 30 goals, 32 assists, and an impressive plus/minus of +38. He is arguably the most important Bruin, so it’s not surprising that last year the team re-signed him to an eight-year contract extension worth $52,000,000.
What makes Bergeron truly special, however, both as a player and a person, are his intangible contributions that defy statistics. While on the ice these intangibles include his impressive ability to read the game, defensive commitment, and essential leadership. He is simultaneously one of the hardest working and most respected players in the game. Off the ice, these intangibles include commitment to community and the ability to put much needed smiles on children’s faces. He is able to accomplish this through his program “Patrice’s Pals” which creates opportunities for children from local hospitals and other organizations to experience a Bruins game as a VIP guest. This program, as part of Bergeron’s off-ice intangibles, is the reason why he is a finalist for the NHL Foundation Award.
According to nhl.com: “The NHL Foundation Player Award is awarded annually to the National Hockey League (NHL) player ‘who applies the core values of (ice) hockey—commitment, perseverance and teamwork—to enrich the lives of people in his community’.”
The description certainly applies to Patrice Bergeron who has provided happiness to numerous children through his program, including this author’s younger brother. The children who get to attend a Bruins game as one of Patrice’s Pals gets to watch the game from the official Patrice’s Pals luxury box and they get a personalized shoutout on the TD Garden scoreboard. In addition, after the game, Bergeron meets with all his pals to chat and sign memorabilia–a small gesture that provides a moment of a lifetime for a child.
Bergeron won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy last year which is, “given to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community,” according to nhl.com. So his charitable efforts and communal engagement are well-documented. This year Bergeron, along with fellow finalists Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks and Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhaws, is truly deserving of the Foundation Award.
The NHL Awards take place on Tuesday, June 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET. Bergeron is also nominated for the Frank J. Selke Trophy, an award which he won in 2012, that is given to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.
Journalism Intern: Noam Waksman is currently a junior at Connecticut College (go camels!) where he majors in English and Psychology. An unabashed Boston sports fan since birth, the Bruins have always held a special place in his heart. Noam resides in Wellesley, MA and can be reached on twitter @NoamWaksman or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.