BOLTON, MA - There's one event every year that draws the likes of Cam Neely, Ray Bourque, Rick Middleton, Derek Sanderson and other Bruins alumni, mixed in with Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and the current Bruins roster.
Heading into training camp, more than 50 members of the Black & Gold, past and present, join together at the Boston Bruins Golf Tournament, to benefit the Bruins Foundation.
On Monday, just two days prior to training camp kicking off for the current Bruins, the entire team, along with GM Peter Chiarelli, B's management, scouting, coaching and support staff, took part in the 10th annual tournament at The International in Bolton, MA.
Since Captain's Practices currently under way are player-run, this marked the first time Head Coach Claude Julien's 2013-14 team was all together. Prior to and during the event, they all caught up, shared laughs, and hit the links, with those in attendance appreciating that they carved out the time amidst their ramped-up training schedules.
"Obviously, I think we've got a good group here looking forward to making amends for our finish and get another crack at it," said Julien of his "hungry" crew heading into the new season.
Not only was it a chance for Bruins to enjoy a day together out on the golf course, but it also offers an opportunity for alumni and fans to be around the players who are carrying on the tradition of the spoked-B.
"I think it's pretty cool event that way - obviously we get to see all the guys on the team, but at the same time, you get to see past guys that have played and people that have been very successful with the organization," said defenseman Adam McQuaid.
"It's cool to be around that, because you get to feel the history and you get to realize how important this organization is to a lot of people. Guys that have played in the past are still around or they come in for this tournament, so you see that it means a lot to not only to the guys that are playing now, but the guys that have played in the past."
With the Bruins heading into their 90th Anniversary season, it's even more season to take a step back and appreciate the amount of tradition that comes with the Original Six team that has represented Boston since 1924.
"It's always great to have a chance to meet some of the legends that played for the Bruins," said Patrice Bergeron, who was grateful for the chance to catch up with Ray Bourque and other legendary B's.
"It always puts things in perspective and reminds you of how proud you should be to wear this jersey and it's always a great day and a fun day - and it's beautiful weather today so having the chance to raise some money for charity is always a great thing."
Who's Got Game?
Not too many B's consider themselves to be great golfers - then again, they're a breed that doesn't like to take credit for much the often. Upon making our rounds on the golf course - for what it's worth - the players revealed their off-ice level of expertise when it comes to the tees, fairways and greens.
Knowing Bergeron's ribs had been healing this summer, I knew he wouldn't have hit the links too often, if at all.
"Yeah, I didn't play this summer so I'm guessing that my golf game is…" he began, before pausing and laughing, "Well my golf game's never good anyways so I don't know what I'm talking about…but, obviously, I'm just here to enjoy it."
Chris Kelly is always one to be bluntly honest with me, so when I asked about his golf game, he was, well, blunt with me.
"It's terrible. Not that it's good any other year, so my team's carrying me."
And considering Shawn Thornton plays pretty often (he took a golfing trip to San Francisco this summer), we should assume he's one of the best, right?
"I mean, I hope Thorty's good, because he golfs a lot - and it wouldn't be fun if you're no good…"
The general consensus among the group was that it was a so-so day on the course. I think I'll mirror all of your own thoughts reading this when I say, that's okay boys, it's about your play on the ice, not on the fairways.
The Bruins' new goaltender Chad Johnson was on par with that. It was only his first round of golf this summer. "Eh, but you're consistent between the pipes," I agreed.
(By the way, as you get to know Johnson, you should know that we almost did an entire interview using our "golf voices." Sad we didn't catch it on camera for you, because he's a spirited personality you'll really grow to enjoy along the way, as he proves his play between the pipes backing up Tuukka Rask this season).
"It's awesome, to see all of the alumni and all of the fans and everything," said Johnson, who's getting his first taste of Original Six hockey with the Bruins in 2013-14.
"It's a huge turnout, I think it's 300-plus golfers out here, so for me, it's a special event, being a part of the Bruins, and the tradition, the history here and obviously, the alumni. To be part of such a huge event like this, it's an honor, for sure."
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