The Boston Bruins finally have their answer from their captain. Patrice Bergeron has announced his retirement from hockey at 38. He walks away from a career that will surely earn him enshrinement in the Hockey Hall of Fame someday, perhaps on the first ballot. He tallied 427 goals and 1,040 points across 1,294 NHL games. Winning a record six Selke Trophies, including one for the 2022-23 season, Bergeron is regarded as the greatest defensive forward of all-time.
“For the last 20 years I have been able to live my dream every day,” Bergeron said in a statement released Tuesday morning. “I have had the honor of playing in front of the best fans in the world wearing the Bruins uniform and representing my country at the highest levels of international play. I have given the game everything that I have physically and emotionally, and the game has given me back more than I could have ever imagined.”
The Bruins stole Bergeron with the 45th pick of the 2003 NHL Draft, and he jumped directly to the NHL at 18 in the 2003-04 season, scoring 16 goals as the league’s youngest player. With the NHL lockout coming in 2004-05, he had the rare distinction of competing in the 2005 World Junior Championship for Canada despite having a full season of NHL play under his belt. Bergeron battled some concussion scares early in his career but shook them off to become the most dominant two-way center of his generation. He captured a Stanley Cup with the Bruins in 2010-11 and helped them reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2013 and 2019, too. In the latter part of the 2010s, he formed The Perfection Line, arguably the best in the world, with Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak.
After mulling retirement last summer, Bergeron returned for one more year and helped the Bruins win an NHL-record 65 games in the 2022-23 regular season. They fell to the Florida Panthers in an epic first-round upset, however, and Bergeron was limited to just three games in the series with what was later revealed to be a herniated disc in his back.
The Bruins and GM Don Sweeney now face the difficult task of replacing their No. 1 center – with No. 2 center and UFA David Krejci also still mulling his future with the team.