Boston has a plethora of riches when it comes to its sports teams. The four professional sports franchises graced the city in riches with 18 championship appearances and 11 title parades since 2001.
A handful of professional athletes, including Tom Brady, David Ortiz, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Pedro Martinez, Tuukka Rask and Zdeno Chara, led the charge as the face of their respective franchises.
Patrice Bergeron’s name should also be at the top of every list of Boston’s sports icons.
The longest-tenured Bruin and ultimate professional became the face of the franchise following his arrival in 2003. Bergeron, the sixth-leading scorer in franchise history with 813 career points (and counting), has the accolades to back it up: three Stanley Cup Final appearances (2011, 2013, and 2019), four Selke Awards (2012, 2014, 2015 and 2017), a championship ring (2011) and a handful of gold medals in international play with Team Canada.
But where does the 33-year-old fit amongst the Mount Rushmore of current athletes in the city? If you ask his current bench boss, Bruce Cassidy, only one GOAT ranks ahead of him.
“Starting with the Bruins, he’s probably it because he was drafted here and started when he was 18. So he’s probably, if you look at that process whole process from beginning until now, the face of the franchise for the past x amount of years,” Cassidy said about Bergeron’s prolific tenure.
“So that’s what he has in the market, how does that compare to Brady? Well, Brady has six Super Bowl rings. Bergy is a ways away from that unfortunately for him.
“As for the Red Sox, that’s a good question. Is it [Dustin] Pedroia? Mookie is starting to come along but he’s maybe Pasta [David Pastrnak]. I’ve got to believe with the Celtics they’ve had so much turnover so I don’t know you guys tell me, would he be the second most? That’s something you guys can debate but certainly up there.”
A second place standing to a six-time Super Bowl champion quarterback isn’t bad by any means. Being in the same conversation is an honor in and of itself.
The elite recognitions don’t matter to Bergeron, though. His humble approach made him a special player to root for over his 15 seasons in Boston. All that matters to Bergeron is making his team better in order to reach the ultimate goal of hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup.
The Quebec-born centerman is aiming for his second Stanley Cup ring in his third appearance in the Final. This time around, Bergeron — while still one of the best two-way players in the game — provides a mentorship role to a plethora of younger players like Pastrnak and Brandon Carlo.
“I don’t think there’s one particular thing that could characterize him. I think it’s everything,” Carlo said about Bergeron’s leadership.
“When you see him and the way that he is, especially after a few years of experience with him, you just kind of think of him as Mr. Perfect. We have a lot of fun kind of teasing him about that stuff. He’s got it all, as a younger guy you definitely look up to him just with all that he has accomplished. Off the ice he is so nice to us and is always there for us. When I’ve been injured he has been one of the first guys to personally text me. His character is something you strive to be like.”
A second Stanley Cup ring will only add another chapter to the legend of Bergeron. Regardless, he’s cemented himself as one of Boston’s iconic athletes.
Bergeron’s legacy goes beyond championships. His roots begin with class, professionalism and integrity.
Bergeron, no doubt, deserves another title. His skillset and world-class leadership will play a big role in hopes of breaking a 100-plus day drought between duck boat parades.
Matt is a recent graduate from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in sports journalism and a minor in business. He currently reports on the Boston Bruins and writes featured stories and game recaps for both Bruins Daily and Boston.com
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