Patrice Bergeron was named captain of the Boston Bruins on Thursday.
The 35-year-old center replaces defenseman Zdeno Chara, who was the longest-tenured captain in the NHL (2006-20) before signing a one-year contract with the Washington Capitals on Dec. 30.
“He’s a competitor, he’s a warrior, and he’s one of those guys that you look at that he never has a limit,” Bruins forward Brad Marchand said of Bergeron. “You know, there’s no ceiling for that guy. And just for him to continue to get better, especially as he’s getting older, he just keeps getting better and becomes a better leader, a better player. … He has everything. He’s not just a good player off the ice, not just a good guy on the ice. He’s a phenomenal player.”
Bergeron, who is the 20th captain in Bruins history, is entering his 17th NHL season, all with Boston. Selected in the second round (No. 45) of the 2003 NHL Draft, he was named an alternate captain in 2006 at 21 years old, the same season Chara was named captain.
“Absolutely, there’s no question Patrice is going to be the next captain of the Boston Bruins,” Chara said Dec. 31. “I think everybody knows that. I think he’s absolutely the right person to have as the captain. He’s been part of the Boston Bruins organization for I think 15, 16 years now and he’s done so much for the team, for the organization, for the community. So he’s going to be an unbelievable captain and leader.
“He’s obviously well proven in crunch time to deliver and his impact he has on the players, teammates, coaches, fans and everybody in the community has been tremendous. So I can’t imagine anybody else to be the captain and I’m truly very, very happy that he’s going to be the next captain because he really deserves it and I can’t thank him enough for everything he’s done for the Bruins, for me personally, supporting our kind of vision and leading together in Boston. I’m very happy for him.”
Bergeron ranks third in Bruins history in games played (1,089), fourth in points (869) and fifth in goals (352) and assists (517). He has scored 111 points (42 goals, 69 assists) in 149 Stanley Cup Playoff games and helped lead the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Final three times (2011, 2013, and 2019), including winning the Cup in 2011 when they defeated the Vancouver Canucks in seven games.
Last season, Bergeron scored 56 points (31 goals, 25 assists) in 61 games to help the Bruins win the Presidents’ Trophy, finishing with the best record in the NHL. Boston lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in five games in the Eastern Conference Second Round.
“Younger guys, older guys, it doesn’t matter. He treats everyone the same,” Bruins forward Charlie Coyle said. “And that’s what you need in a leader, guys who make everyone feel welcome. … He knows when the time is right to say something. He knows when it’s just show by example. He’s been around the block and of course having a guy like [Chara] and learning from him as well can’t hurt. And so Patrice has all the qualities of a great, great leader, great teammate, great player. And we’ve all seen it.”
Bergeron has been named a finalist for the Selke Trophy, awarded annually to the forward voted as the best to excel in the defensive aspects of the game, for nine consecutive seasons. He has won it four times (2011-12, 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2016-17), tied with Hockey Hall of Famer Bob Gainey of the Montreal Canadiens for the most in NHL history.
Bergeron won the King Clancy Trophy in 2012-13, awarded annually to an NHL player who best exemplifies leadership qualities both on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.
“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.”
Five NHL teams remain without a captain: the Detroit Red Wings, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators and Vegas Golden Knights.
NHL.com staff writer Tom Gulitti contributed to this report