"Welcome to Charlottetown," says Sir John Macdonald, first Prime Minister of Canada.
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia – Thanks to numerous preseason games in the Metro Centre, for those of us working on the Bruins travel party -- and especially those of us who traveled hither and yon to cover the B’s Cup parties last summer -- Halifax has become a veritable home away from home.
But for Brad Marchand, Halifax is home and the B’s forward intends to make Nova Scotia his offseason base for the foreseeable future.
“It’s nice,” said Marchand, as he drove through the city’s streets after a brutal day-starting workout. “I live outside of town so I can come in and do my training and then, for the most part, I’m with my family the rest of the days."
“It makes being home really nice.”
His family -- and his neighbors -- make it the ideal location to recoup and regroup after the hockey season.
“For sure,” said Brad. “It’s always a lot easier when you have people around you supporting you.”
For Marchand, who is away for much of the year, having his family around is important.
“As we get older my siblings have more that they have to do, too. More responsibilities,” explained the forward. “So we do our best to spend time together.
“But the summers – you really have to dedicate it to your training and making sure you’re doing the right things for your body. So, you do have to focus on putting those first, those priorities first.
“But at the same time all that other free time goes to family and friends.”
As Brad spoke about his home base in Halifax, and his memories of last summer, he sounded as if he were talking about another old friend.
“Halifax is a big hockey city,” he said. “Everyone loves the game here and really enjoys anyone who has had success.
“There’s a lot of support for those people so we just knew that after winning the Cup it was definitely going to have to be a priority to share it as much as we could with the city and allow them to spend time and enjoy it as well.
“That’s what we did and everyone really enjoyed it, so it worked out great."
BANGOR, Maine -- So we were sitting in my boss’ office the other day and talking about last year’s travel around North America with the Stanley Cup.
I mentioned how much great material we had gotten for the site and how there was more to see and do that we couldn’t do because of Lord Stanley’s tight schedule.
Well, today we started on a six-day, 1821-mile journey through New England, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec to see Bruins Brad Marchand, Adam McQuaid, Patrice Bergeron & Jordan Caron.
Right now, the estimated time in the car stands at 32-hours plus (only 11 or so on Sunday, though). But much of that day-and-a-quarter of driving is through some of the most picturesque parts on the continent (if not the world).
So, as I packed my bags for the significant sojourn to the Canadian Maritimes and la belle province, I was pretty excited to retrace at least some of my steps through St. Stephen, NB (Assistant GM Don Sweeney’s hometown), Halifax, NS, and Charlottetown, PE before returning to Quebec City for the first time since the B’s played the Canadiens in a preseason game in Le Colisee Pepsi.
Brad, Adam, Patrice & Jordan have all agreed to spend most of a day with our web video producer Jonny and I, and we’re hopeful to get to know their hometowns just a little bit better even as we learn about how they are preparing for the 2012-13 season.
Throughout the week I’ll be Tweeting and Instagraming via @NHLBruins (with the hashtag #BearTracks), blogging in this space and filming Bruins Beats. As we’ll have plenty of time in the car, feel free to send me questions about our trip along the way via Twiiter.
And we could certainly use a few suggestions for breakfast, lunch and dinner spots as we make our way to Canada and return to the USA.
We’re sure to have some fun and surprises along the way, so keep it here as we begin our summertime sweep through Black & Gold country.