Jets Coach Shares Fantastic Patrice Bergeron Early-Career Story

'Every game he was the best player on the ice'


March 20

Patrice Bergeron has been leaving his mark on the professional hockey community for two decades.

The Boston Bruins captain has solidified his reputation at this point in his illustrious career. He’s going to end up in the Hockey Hall of Fame, and the five-time Selke Trophy winner shows no real signs of slowing down at age 37 despite flirting with retirement.

It was clear from Day 1 that Bergeron was going to be a very good professional hockey player. As an 18-year-old in 2003-04, Bergeron scored 16 goals to go with 23 assists in 71 games. It was, by all accounts, a fine rookie season especially considering his age. Bergeron looked poised to build on the success in his second season and springboard his NHL career.

And then the 2004-05 lockout happened. The entire season was lost, and Bergeron was forced to play out the season with Providence in the AHL. He certainly could have big-leagued it or even sulked, but he instead posted 21-40-61 totals in 68 games with the Baby B’s and left a strong impression on Winnipeg Jets coach Rick Bowness, who was with the Coyotes at the time.

“That year of the lockout, (2004-05), when I was with the Coyotes, we did some scouting, and I went to the American League a couple of times to do some scouting,” he recently told Sportsnet. “The year before, Patrice had played the whole year in Boston, and he went to Providence that year (after). I saw him probably play five games and in all five games, he was the best player on the ice. So that tells you about his character.”

Bergeron’s combination of skill, smarts and general desire to be the best — especially at that age — made it clear Bergeron was going to be good for a long time.

“A lot of guys who play a year in the NHL, as an (18-year-old) and then go to the minors and not be happy about it,” Bowness said. “Every game he was the best player on the ice. That told me all I needed to know about his character. Then when you watch him play the game, my God, his hockey IQ, his compete level game by game over all of this time is very, very impressive. It goes back to his character. This guy is a wonderful person, wonderful leader and one heck of a hockey player. He’ll be in the Hall of Fame, for sure.”

As if there was any doubt of any of that at this point, Bergeron keeps reminding the hockey world of his prowess. He’s been a major factor in the Bruins’ ability to regain the dominance they displayed for much of the season despite a recent lull. Bergeron has five points in Boston’s current three-game winning streak, while winning 31 of 48 faceoffs.

Thumbnail photo via Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports Images
Providence Friars head coach Ed Cooley
Previous Article

Ed Cooley Reportedly Will Leave Providence For Big East Rival

New England Patriots quarterbacks Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe
Next Article

Devin McCourty Admits Some Patriots Preferred Bailey Zappe Over Mac Jones

Picked For You