BOSTON — The Bruins won 14 games in the playoffs last spring, and after every one of those wins, the team-voted player of the game went to his postgame media availability wearing a U.S. Army Rangers jacket. The jacket, which was obtained by now ex-Bruin defenseman Andrew Ference, was a source of pride for whoever got to wear it.
It wasn’t necessarily because of the fact that the jacket represented the player of the game honor, but the B’s are a bunch that certainly don’t take for granted what the military does. That appreciation will be on display Monday afternoon at TD Garden during the team’s annual military appreciation day, which fittingly takes place on Veterans Day this year.
Not only will the Bruins take the ice for pregame warmups with camouflaged jerseys, but a group of players also bought tickets so that military members and their families could enjoy Monday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Matt Bartkowski, Johnny Boychuk, David Krejci, Torey Krug and Dennis Seidenberg each purchased $2,500 worth of tickets for those military members, and those players will meet with the troops and their families following the game.
That’s something that’s even more special for players like Krug and Bartkowski, who are the only two Americans on the Bruins roster. It’s even more important for Bartkowski, who has family members in the armed forces.
“I’m one of the few Americans on the the team, and I have members of my family in the military,” Bartkowski, a Pittsburgh native, said Monday morning. “One cousin has done a few tours already and my brother goes to West Point, so it’s just a little more special.”
“It’s just a small gesture,” said Krug, who hails from just outside of Detroit. “Obviously they do a lot for us and freedom doesn’t come free, so it’s just a small little gesture.”
The American-born players aren’t alone in showing their support, financial and otherwise. Seidenberg, a native of Germany, has participated in military appreciation day in the past and was more than willing to do so again this year.
“It’s our way of saying a small thank you and our appreciation for the services,” Seidenberg said. “It’s just great what they do, and I’m really looking forward to seeing them after the game.”
It all speaks to a pretty impressive sense of appreciation from the team as a whole, an appreciation that extends far beyond just the American contingency wearing black and gold.
“There’s a lot [of support] on the team,” Bartkowski added. “Like I said, I’m one of the few … Americans, but from the international contingency, they show their support very well whether it be for our military or theirs.”