Ray Bourque knows a thing or two about leaving a team he was with long-term and winning a championship with his new one.
Bourque was traded from the Bruins to the Colorado Avalanche before winning the Stanley Cup when he was 40 years old in 2001 after spending 20 years with Boston.
Tom Brady essentially followed the same path, save for getting traded. The quarterback signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in March 2020 after spending 20 years with the New England Patriots and being part of six Super Bowl rings.
Of course, Bourque is a Boston legend and always welcomed warmly when he returns to TD Garden. He believes the same will happen with Brady when he makes his Gillette Stadium debut as a member of the opposing team in Week 4 of the 2021 NFL season.
“I know that when Tom comes back he’s going to be welcomed with open arms,” Bourque said during his appearance on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” on Wednesday. “With everything that he’s accomplished here, winning six Super Bowls and the way he did it, and I think people understand why he left. And I think that was the situation with me as well.”
Bourque’s situation was a bit different given he was traded and didn’t decide to sign with the Avalanche. Still, despite being a 16-time All-Star, he wasn’t quite sure he’d be received so warmly when he did return. But the ovation he received was something he never will forget.
“The ovation was incredible,” Bourque said. “They welcomed me back with open arms. After winning the Cup I get back here and the mayor wanted to have a day for me. Ten thousand people ended up showing up. I couldn’t believe it. I think it’s just the mutual respect we had for each other.”
Listen to the full clip below:
It remains to be seen how Brady will be received in front of a sold-out Gillette Stadium, but we do know regardless of which it goes, the fans in attendance will be sure to make their voices heard.