The passing years haven’t dimmed the Olympic flame, which burns inside Patrice Bergeron.
The Boston Bruins captain offered a simple explanation to reporters Monday why he’s excited NHL players will compete at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. NHL players haven’t featured in the Olympics since 2014, and Bergeron believes their return to the event in 2022 only will increase exposure and interest in hockey.
“The Olympics is the greatest sports event in the world,” Bergeron said. “And you want to have the best athletes competing in that event. It’s been an honor personally to be there twice and compete with my teammates and try to represent a country to the best of your ability. It’s obviously great news that as NHL players we’re going to be there and competing.
“I think it’s some of the best hockey that you can watch. The fans always seem to be very excited about it. I’ve heard a lot about it from the last few Olympics (in which NHL players competed) where in Sochi (Russia in 2014) and Vancouver (Canada in 2010) have told me that it’s some of the best hockey that they’ve seen, so it was entertaining and fun to watch. So I think it’s exciting for everyone, for the fans, for the players.”
Bergeron helped Canada win gold medals in the 2010 and 2014 Games. He’ll vie to represent his country again in 2022.
“I think as a player you want to compete and be at your best and be in those tournaments. Obviously, it’s not easy to do, and I don’t take it for granted at all,” Bergeron concluded. “Obviously it’s going to be hard to be on that team, but it’s obviously a great challenge.”
If Bergeron earns a spot on Canada’s roster, he’ll join his Bruins boss, Bruce Cassidy, who is one of Team Canada’s assistant coaches. Brad Marchand, Taylor Hall, Charlie McAvoy and other Bruins players also might compete in Beijing for their respective nations.
Bergeron surely isn’t alone in being fired up for the chance to showcase his talent alongside other NHL stars in Beijing.