Earlier this week or late last week, or was it like years ago at this point…we bemoaned the utter denial of the PHWA not awarding Patrice Bergeron the Selke as best DEFENSIVE forward because he got had 10 points less than Aleksander Barkov. Our perfect captain had the opportunity to take the lead for most times winning that trophy but was foiled by stupid writers. Well, Bergy just happened to win an award with which writers have no involvement.
Annually, Mark Messier asks teams to submit their candidate for the Mark Messier Leadership Award, which is given to the player who shows leadership on the ice as well as off the ice, working within the community to grow the game of hockey. From those suggestions, he selects the winner himself. Of the 31 candidates, Patrice Bergeron emerged atop the field to take home the award.
“It’s a huge honor,” the Bruins captain said. “Obviously there’s more than just X’s and O’s and playing the game of hockey. It’s about the community and what impact you can bring to people and obviously to your team, but also beyond that and to grow the game of hockey.”
Last season after the murder of George Floyd, Patrice donated to causes like the NAACP Boston and a similar cultural center in Quebec while stating that he was doing what he could to learn how to take hate and racism out of the game and the community.
Patrice also has other initiatives like Patrice’s Pals, in which he invites children fighting illnesses to watch a game in his suite as well as spending time with them afterwards. Patrice also spends time visiting children in hospital as well as raising money for children’s hospitals with his Pucks and Paddles fundraiser. In the community, he has also opened up the Willie O’Ree ball hockey rink in Boston.
Patrice doesn’t like to hog the spotlight or take all the credit, rather pulling some of his teammates in there with him.
“I’m accepting this award on behalf of our entire team and organization,” Bergeron said. “Personally I’ve always believed in leading by committee and letting others grow into leaders of their own, so I want to especially thank Brad [Marchand] and David [Pastrnak] and the rest of our leadership group for all that they’ve done to help make the Bruins such a special team to play for.”
While he will never take credit it for it, he has personally shaped those two players he named both on and off the ice.
Don’t ever change, Patrice.