After 19 years, 1,294 games, and countless unforgettable moments, Patrice Bergeron is hanging up the dream and moving on from his sterling NHL career.
The 38-year-old announced his retirement Tuesday, drawing his two-decade run with the Boston Bruins to a close.
“It is with a full heart and a lot of gratitude that today I am announcing my retirement as a professional hockey player,” the captain wrote on the Bruins website. “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.”
With Bergeron stepping away, we took a look back at the most memorable moments from his time on the ice.
June 22, 2003: The beginning
With the 45th-overall pick in the 2003 NHL Draft – considered one of the deepest drafts in league history – the Boston Bruins tabbed Acadie-Bathurst Titan standout Patrice Bergeron. He didn’t come in as the most dominant goal scorer, or the best skater, or the toughest of his draft class. He hadn’t led his league, or even his own team, in scoring. And yet, unbeknownst to them, the Bruins added one of the most important figures in the history of their franchise when they selected the Ancienne-Lorette, Que., native in the second round.
October 2003: A season of firsts
Bergeron earned a spot in the Bruins’ lineup as an 18-year-old, jumping into the big leagues immediately and playing out his rookie year as the youngest player in the NHL. On Oct. 15, 2003, in his fourth career game, the teenager recorded his first point — an assist in Dallas on a game-winning goal by Brian Rolston. Three days later, in Los Angeles, he set up two more goals and then scored one of his own, the first of his career, leading Boston to a win over the Kings. In the post-season that followed, he netted his first playoff goal, scoring just once during the Bruins’ seven-game first-round series against Montreal — the overtime winner in Game 2.
Jan. 4, 2005: Wunderkind on the world stage
Amid the uncertainty of the 2004-05 NHL season, wiped out by a lockout, Bergeron was named to the Canadian squad headed to the 2005 World Junior Championship in North Dakota. Lining up alongside Sidney Crosby and Corey Perry, Bergeron put up 13 points in six games to earn MVP and tournament scoring-leader honours, leading Canada to a gold-medal finish and adding to his growing reputation as a winner.
2005-06: The breakout
After his sophomore season was derailed by a lockout and playing out 2004-05 with AHL Providence, Bergeron returned to the NHL with a vengeance in 2005-06. With Joe Thornton traded to San Jose, a 20-year-old Bergeron lined up as the club’s No. 1 centre. He wound up leading the black and gold in scoring, compiling the first of multiple 30-goal (six), 70-point (three) seasons in a Bruins sweater.
Sept. 22, 2008: The return
After that breakout season, Bergeron’s career was derailed again, this time by a devastating collision with Philadelphia Flyers defenceman Randy Jones just 10 games into the 2007-08 season, leaving the young centreman with a concussion. After missing the rest of the season to recover, Bergeron returned in late September 2008 with a goal and three assists in a triumphant first night back, leading Boston to a dominant pre-season victory over the Montreal Canadiens in Halifax.
Jan. 1, 2010: Making magic at Fenway
In the early days of the NHL’s outdoor games, when there was still a sense of novelty about them, the Bruins took to the ice at Fenway Park for a Winter Classic tilt against the Philadelphia Flyers, just the third iteration of the outdoor classic after the games in Orchard Park, N.Y., and Chicago. Unsurprisingly, under the Fenway lights, Bergeron used the opportunity to author another memorable moment. With the clubs tied 1-1 and headed to overtime, Bergeron shook off a Flyer along the left wall, drifted down to the left faceoff circle and, cutting back to his right, wired a no-look pass to Marco Sturm, and the puck deflected off the German’s stick and into the cage, sealing the win. The crowd erupted as the B’s swarmed Sturm and Bergeron in the corner.
Feb. 28, 2010: The gold at home
A month after that moment at Fenway, Bergeron joined Team Canada as the national team looked to reclaim Olympic gold on home soil. Injuries prevented the Bruins pivot from contributing fully, relegating him to a bottom-of-the-lineup role. Still, he brought his penalty-killing acumen and defensive prowess, helping Canada finish with the gold.
June 15, 2011: The championship moment
Seven years into his big-league career, after collecting 121 regular-season goals, nine post-season goals and countless marquee moments, Bergeron’s next goal would be perhaps the most important of his career. With five minutes left in the first period in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, Brad Marchand took the puck off an offensive zone faceoff and curled out from the right corner. Heading for the blue line before cutting back, he lost a trailing Canuck for enough time to flip a backhand pass into the slot to a waiting Bergeron.
Collecting the puck on his blade, and before anyone could react, No. 37 wired it into the cage for the game’s opening goal. Bergeron would later add a shorthanded goal, but that first marker proved to be the game winner, and series winner, to help the Bruins win their first Stanley Cup in nearly four decades.
June 20, 2012: The first Selke
A year after that signature championship performance, Bergeron created another career highlight. After a 2011-12 season in which he established himself as undeniably one of the best two-way talents in the game, the 26-year-old earned his first Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward. In doing so, he kicked off a run that would eventually make his name synonymous with the trophy while providing defensive prowess from the top of the lineup.
May 13, 2013: ‘It was 4-1’
Though Bergeron’s second bid for a Stanley Cup came up short, the veteran pivot was in dominant form as he helped the Bruins march back to the Cup Final two years after their title. Although he had memorable moments throughout that 2013 Final run, none had a more lasting impact than what Bergeron did in the first-round series finale against Toronto.
After a back-and-forth that saw Boston and Toronto trade Games 1 and 2, and then each win two in Games 3 through 6, the two clubs arrived at Game 7 looking for a ticket to the second round. Forty-nine minutes into the game, it seemed signed, sealed and delivered, Toronto having shot out to a 4-1 lead, and needing to simply hold on through the final stretch. But nine minutes into that final period, the wheels started to come off, Nathan Horton getting one back for the Bruins, Milan Lucic adding another.
With a minute left in the game, Toronto holding onto a 4-3 lead, the puck came to Bergeron at the top of the point, dead centre over Stanley Cup Playoffs painted on the ice. The veteran drifted for a moment, calculated, and then wired the backbreaking shot through the chaos and into the net. Game tied.
Six minutes into overtime, Bergeron hammered the final nail in that blue-and-white coffin, wiring a shot from the right circle and then pouncing on the rebound and whipping it home. The goal sealed the series win that launched Boston’s Cup Final run, and provided a decade’s worth of fodder for Bruins and Maple Leafs fans’ raucous rivalry.
Feb. 23, 2014: The Crosby reunion
After injuries had limited his effectiveness during his first Olympic run, Bergeron returned for his second Olympic tournament in Sochi in 2014. This time, he reunited with World Juniors linemate Sidney Crosby, the pair joined by Crosby’s Pittsburgh linemate Chris Kunitz as Canada looked to repeat. The trio helped the national team claim the second Olympic gold of Bergeron’s career. Two years later, Bergeron and Crosby would team up in red and white again, the pair suiting up alongside Brad Marchand as the most dominant line at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey — Bergeron collected four goals and seven points through six games in the tournament as he, Marchand and Crosby finished as the top three scorers and led Canada to the gold.
2018-19: The career year
Even after all of that, it was just five years ago, at age 33, that Bergeron put forth the most productive season of his big-league career, a season of milestones. In February 2019, Bergeron became just the fifth Bruin to hit 1,000 NHL games with the club, marking the occasion with a pair of goals in a win over the New York Islanders. By the end of the season, he’d posted a career-best 79 points in just 65 games, and tied his career-best goals mark with 32 — all while also earning an NHL-record eighth straight Selke Trophy nomination. On the heels of that career season, Bergeron led the Bruins to another Cup Final, posting 17 points through 24 games as they marched to an all-or-nothing Game 7, eventually falling to St. Louis.
Jan. 7, 2021: The captaincy
Ahead of his 17th season in Boston, at 35 years old, Bergeron was named the 20th captain in Bruins history, succeeding Zdeno Chara, who’d worn the “C” for the previous decade-and-a-half in Boston. At the time, Bergeron sat top-five all-time in Bruins franchise history in points, goals, assists and games played, and had helped the club win the Presidents’ Trophy, the Stanley Cup and reach the Final two more times.
April 28, 2022: The 400 club
In the final game of the 2021-22 season, Bergeron led Boston to a 5-0 drubbing of the Buffalo Sabres, posting a hat trick and an assist. In doing so, he collected the 400th goal of his career, making him just the fourth Bruin to reach the plateau, joining Johnny Bucyk, Phil Esposito and Rick Middleton.
June 5, 2022: Selke history
At the conclusion of the 2021-22 season, Bergeron won the fifth Selke Trophy of his career, officially moving him into rarified air, as he passed Bob Gainey for the most Selke wins in NHL history. He added to that run this past season, claiming a record sixth Selke in his final season.
Nov. 21, 2022: Another thousand
In the early months of what would be his final NHL season, Bergeron recorded an assist on a goal from Marchand against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena. The point was the 1,000th of his career, and prompted the Bruins to clear the bench and pour onto the ice to congratulate their captain. With the assist in tow, Bergeron became just the fourth Bruin to hit the 1,000-point mark, joining Ray Bourque, Bucyk and Esposito — the latter of whom was at the game, working as the Lightning’s radio broadcaster.
Jan. 7, 2023: Top-three talent
Later in that same season, the tenures of Bergeron and Esposito with the Bruins became intertwined again. On Jan. 7, the Bruins captain netted a pair of assists in a win over the Sharks, moving him past Esposito for third all-time in Bruins franchise scoring, behind only Bourque and Bucyk.
April 30, 2023: The final game
On April 30, the captain played his final game in a Bruins uniform, his club falling to the Florida Panthers in a Game 7 overtime loss in Round 1. Despite the disappointing ending, No. 37’s final year saw him lead the Bruins to a historic regular season, the club finishing as the winningest team in NHL history after a 65-win, 135-point campaign.
Bergeron finished his career third in points, fourth in assists, third in goals, second in game winners and third in games played among the Bruins all-time.