By Meaghan Cahill ’20
Over the past week, the entire hockey community has been celebrating Patrice Bergeron as he reached yet another milestone in his career—playing in 1,000 games. Former players, coaches, family members, and fans have expressed their gratitude for all that Bergeron has done on and off the ice in a series of interviews and videos shared by the Boston Bruins organization. Upon reflection, these videos have brought to mind not what Bergeron has given of himself, but what people, athletes and non-athletes alike, can take and learn from him over the course of his 16 year career.
1. In the face of adversity, never give up.
In October 2007, Bergeron’s career almost ended when he suffered a grade-three concussion after a hit from behind during a game against the Philadelphia Flyers—there is no grade-four. His injury was so severe that in the months following the hit, the question was not “will he be able to recover and return to the game?” but “will his life in general ever be the same?” There was serious doubt that he would ever be able to play hockey again. Yet, Bergeron put all those doubts to rest when just over a year later he was back and scoring goals. Three more serious (but not as major) concussions later, Bergeron proved time and time again that when people think his career is finished they need to think again.
2. “We” not “Me” because selfishness gets you nowhere.
According to Boston Bruins announcer Jack Edwards, the media joke surrounding Bergeron is to see what it takes for them to get him to once refer to himself in the first person. It never happens. Bergeron’s main focus has always been, and always will be, his teammates and their contributions. It is a true sign of his leadership perhaps, or just his character in general, but Bergeron’s unselfish attitude is one that is known throughout the league and it is the one thing that players commented most about him. And to Bergeron, even when asked about his latest accomplishment of being the fifth Boston Bruins player to make it to 1,000+ games, he stated, “My best memories are always what we’ve accomplished as a team, and the friends I have made. It’s honestly that’s what I’m most proud of.”
3. Have courage to persevere in any situation.
Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks ended with the Blackhawks as the victors, but Bergeron a legend. Against medical advisement, Bergeron played alongside his teammates with a plethora of injuries: torn rib cartilage, broken rib, separated shoulder, and a punctured lung. On his more recent injury that would take Bergeron out of the game for a month, teammate Brad Marchand commented how he would not succumb to his injury until the final buzzer went off, “Essentially, his whole body was broken, the whole upper half. And he still comes back to play. It’s incredible.” His toughness has become a staple on his résumé as a player and proves time and time again why he is considered the best of the best.