BOSTON — The big guys and the bad guys, the lunch-pail guys, the Bourke bunch.
Bruins from nearly every era in the franchise’s 100-year history reunited at TD Garden on Wednesday night as part of the team’s opening night centennial celebration.
Before today’s Bruins game against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Bruins of yesteryear walked the “golden carpet” to mingle with fans and media more than two hours before tipoff.
“It’s incredible. It’s amazing to have so many fans here for a 7:30 game,” Bruins president Cam Neely said, pointing to the sea of black and gold behind him. “Obviously, the centenary is a big deal and our fans definitely appreciate it.”
As they have done throughout their careers, 2011 Cup winners like David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron and Sean Thornton followed Johnny Busiek and Terry Ole Following in the footsteps of ice hockey legends like Leigh.
“The legends of this city have always been so kind to us. We’re so lucky that we have a close-knit community,” said Shawn Thornton, a fan-favorite enforcer and current Florida Panthers executive.
“100 years in the making. It’s great to be able to play here and see all the legends come back,” said Bob Sweeney, a Massachusetts native and 1982 Bruins rookie.
Ray Bourque, an 18-time All-Star with the Black and Gold, hasn’t had to pay for his drinks in Boston for a long time.
“When you come in here as an 18-year-old rookie, you know this is a special place. But after playing for 21 years and living in our lives… the craziness,” Bourque said.
Johnny Bucyk, 88, a two-time Cup champion and member of the NHL’s 100th anniversary team, heard the “Chiefs” cheers just as he was about to join others in the lunch pail. It’s like tying up skate laces together.alternating current
“It’s great. I enjoy seeing all the guys that I play with and have a lot of fun with, win a few championships,” Busik said.
Tim Thomas was also involved in the grand occasion. The 2011 Stanley Cup-winning goaltender has made few public appearances since retiring from the NHL in 2014.
“It’s an honor to receive the honor,” Thomas quipped. “I don’t live like this anymore! It feels like I’m back in time!”
The Bruins are the third NHL team to reach the century mark, following the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs.
While Patrice Bergeron and David Craigie will be on the ice for the pregame festivities, the recent retiree’s absence weighs heavily on the Bruins as they head into the 2023 draft. First overall pick Connor Bedard’s 100th game with the Chicago Blackhawks.
This is a development story. Please check back for updates as more information becomes available.
download Free Boston 25 News app For breaking news alerts.
Follow Boston 25 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch Boston 25 News Now
©2023 Cox Media Group