Bruins legend Patrice Bergeron, 38, announced his retirement Tuesday morning, issuing a statement delivered through the Bruins’ social media channels:
“When I was around 12 years old a teacher asked everyone in my class to write about our dreams. For me, my dream was already clear: to become a professional hockey player.
I was probably a little naive growing up, because in my mind this dream was never a question of if, but when it would happen. The path to making my dreams come true was not easy. I faced adversity and made so many sacrifices, but throughout it all my love for the game only grew and my determination to achieve my goals always remained strong.
For the last 20 years I have been able to live my dream every day. 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.
It is with a full heart and a lot of gratitude that today I am announcing my retirement as a professional hockey player.
As hard as it is to write, I also write it knowing how blessed and lucky I feel to have had the career that I have had, and that I have the opportunity to leave the game I love on my terms. It wasn’t a decision that I came to lightly. But after listening to my body, and talking with my family, I know in my heart that this is the right time to step away from playing the game I love.
I also know that none of this was possible on my own, and I would like to humbly take this opportunity to acknowledge some people who helped me achieve my goals and who made my career so special.
From my minor hockey days in Quebec City all the way through major junior in Acadie-Bathurst, there were so many coaches, teammates and parents who helped me fall in love with hockey. Thank you for laying the groundwork on what became a lifelong passion.
In 2003, the Bruins drafted me, and from the moment I put my draft sweater on, everyone in the organization believed in me. I want to thank the Jacobs family, team management, coaches, trainers, support staff, team doctors and psychologists, scouts and TD Garden staff. The commitment of this group of people and constant support on and off the ice made wearing the Black and Gold so special every day.
One of the best parts of pulling on the spoked-B jersey is the incredible history of the franchise. The players that came before me always welcomed me with open arms and were always there with encouragement, to listen and help me better understand the tradition and responsibilities that come with playing for the Bruins.
While not always easy, I always tried my best to understand that part of being a professional hockey player included my responsibility to the media who helped tell our story to the fans. I enjoyed getting to know some of you personally over the years and I always appreciated being covered fairly and the job that the media did telling the story of our team.
Over the last 20 years I have had the honor of taking the ice with so many great teammates. I have tried to learn something from each and every one of you and I always tried to be the best teammate that I could be. I will never forget your trust, the laughs, the endless memories, the ups and downs, and ultimately the long lasting friendships. I will forever be grateful being a part of such an exceptional group of men, and I will carry the pride of winning in 2011 with me forever.
The amazing people of New England welcomed a young French Canadian who didn’t speak great English and you treated me like one of your own. I can’t imagine representing a better community or more passionate fan base than the Boston Bruins. Your passion, your dedication and your kindness towards me and my family will never be forgotten. Please know that every time I took the ice I tried to compete for you the right way, and off the ice I tried the best that I could to give back to the community that supported me. The connections and friends that my family and I have made here are unquantifiable. Boston is, and will forever be, a special place for me and my family.
There is only one other jersey that I ever wanted to wear, and that is the Canadian jersey. Representing my country at the highest level – especially winning Gold in Vancouver and Sochi are also some of my proudest moments. I would like to thank everyone who helped make those experiences possible.
Navigating life as a professional athlete is not easy, and my two agents, Kent Hughes and Phil Lecavalier, helped me find my way. Your guidance through the ups and downs of my career helped eliminate distractions and uncertainty so that I could focus on being the best player that I could be. I have also had a great team of professionals in Boston and Quebec who have been instrumental in both my physical and mental health, allowing me to reach my maximum potential.
Since day one, my friends and extended family in Quebec have been by my side. You guys know who you are. I remain so appreciative of your continued support.
To my mom, Sylvie and my dad, Gerard. It all started with you both, and your unwavering love. I couldn’t have asked for better parents. What I have achieved, and who I have become, is because of you. The sacrifices that you both made for my goals are appreciated more than I can ever state. You guys have always believed in me and my dreams, even when no one else did. You always found the right way to help guide me in this journey with endless support.
To my brother Guillaume. It’s hard to find words to explain our bond. You have been the biggest influence in my life and the best role model a little brother could hope for. My dream started by playing street hockey with you as young boys and you have been my number one fan every step of the way. I am forever thankful for all of your advice, words of encouragement and for always having time to simply listen to me.
To my wife Stephanie. Steph you’re my rock. You put your career aside and allowed me to pursue my passion. Grateful is an understatement for my appreciation for your sacrifices. You always see the positive in every situation and your unconditional love means the world to me. Most importantly, you always see me as a husband and a dad before a hockey player. The kids and I are so lucky to have you. I love you.
To my wonderful kids Zack, Victoria, Noah and Felix. Daddy loves you so much. As I turn the page on this chapter of my life I am hopeful that through my experiences you realize that anything in your life is possible. Believe in your dreams and follow the voice inside you. Work endlessly for whatever it is that makes your eyes sparkle, and when times are tough, get back up and keep pushing. I’m the prime example that anything is possible and that amazing things happen when you believe in yourself and do what you love. Daddy will always be in your corner no matter where life takes you.
Finally, to the next generation of hockey players. I had a dream at 12 years old, and through hard work and perseverance my dreams came true more than I ever could have imagined. Respect the game and your peers. Welcome adversity and simply enjoy yourself. No matter where you go from there the game will bring you so much happiness.
As I step away today, I have no regrets. I have only gratitude that I lived my dream, and excitement for what is next for my family and I. I left everything out there and I’m humbled and honored it was representing this incredible city and for the Boston Bruins fans.
Bergeron, who turned 38 on Monday, was the Bruins’ second-round draft pick in 2003.