In a move that was expected following Zdeno Chara’s departure, longtime center Patrice Bergeron was officially named captain of the Bruins on Thursday.
Bergeron, who is entering his 17th season in Boston, ranks third in team history in games and game-winning goals, and is fifth in goals and assists. Among active NHL players, he is third in plus/minus, ninth in playoff games, and 14th in points.
“For 16 seasons we have all watched Patrice grow not only into an elite player but also a tremendous leader,” Bruins president Cam Neely said in a statement. “Patrice represents the Bruins organization and our fans with integrity, determination, and class.
“On and off the ice he embodies what it means to be a Bruin, and we couldn’t be prouder that he will lead our team as Captain.”
Bergeron, 35, is the 20th captain in team history — a role most recently held by Joe Thornton (2002-05) and Chara (2006-20). He won the Stanley Cup with Boston in 2011 and has spearheaded many charitable endeavors over the years.
“It’s very humbling. It’s a huge honor,” Bergeron said. “There’s been some tremendous captains and leaders along the way, and some legends of the game, and as I said it’s an absolute honor and I’m going to try to keep bettering myself and learning and leading by example, but also trying to be me.”
“Patrice Bergeron exudes leadership, character, talent, will, and empathy,” Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said. “We all know Bergy embraces the legacy of the Boston Bruins, as he will with the captaincy.
“Bergy has earned the respect of all of his teammates, coaches, and everyone in the Bruins organization.”
In making the announcement in the locker room, the Bruins had a little fun at Bergeron’s expense. A video the team posted to social media shows Sweeney addressing the players and saying that the choice was obvious ... right before asking Brad Marchand to come up and accept his new jersey with a “C” on it.
“I’m really looking forward to taking this next step, but I think we all know who the real captain is,” Marchand said before presenting Bergeron with his jersey No. 37 with the “C” stitched on the chest to the applause of his teammates.
The Bruins open the regular season next Thursday on the road against the New Jersey Devils.
Past Bruins captains
Zdeno Chara (2006-20)
Joe Thornton (2002-05)
Jason Allison (2000-01)
Ray Bourque (1985-2000)
Rick Middleton (1985-88)
Terry O’Reilly (1983-85)
Wayne Cashman (1977-83)
John Bucyk (1966-67 and 1973-77)
Leo Boivin (1963-66)
Don McKenney (1961-63)
Ferny Flaman (1955-61)
Ed Sandford (1954-55)
Milt Schmidt (1950-54)
John Crawford (1946-50)
Cooney Weiland (1938-39)
Dit Clapper (1932-38 and 1939-47)
George Owen (1931-32)
Lionel Hitchman (1927-31)
Sprague Cleghorn (1925-27)
Trevor Hass can be reached at email@example.com.