The Boston Bruins finally made their announcement on the team's next captain, and there was only one choice: Patrice Bergeron
Bergeron is not only one of the best players in team history, he's also one of the finest leaders in the entire NHL. He commands an immense amount of respect from teammates and opponents alike.
The veteran center is the 20th captain in the more than 100-year history of the franchise, and he explained what the role means to him during a Zoom call with reporters after Thursday's training camp practice.
“I think it's very humbling and a huge honor," Bergeron said. "There’s been some tremendous captains and leaders on the way and some legends of the game. It’s an absolute honor, and I’m going to try to keep bettering myself and keep learning and leading by example. But also trying to be me.
"I think that’s all I can really do and try to connect with my teammates. It's an historic franchise that's done so much, and to be part of it and actually be named captain is something very special."
Bergeron has plenty of experience being a leader. He's served in an alternate captain role since the 2006-07 season alongside longtime captain Zdeno Chara. Chara's recent departure in free agency paved the way for Bergeron to step into this role.
What's the most important part of being captain? Bergeron wants to make sure everyone feels included in the team's mission.
"Connecting with the guys and making sure they understand and realize that this is their team just as much , and take ownership of that," Bergeron explained. "And making sure everyone is important and is valued. Again, it's all about connecting with them and making sure we're on the same page and buying into what we're trying to establish.
"For me, it's sending that message, reaching out to guys and making sure they realize they can all take charge and be themselves and find ways to understand each other."
Bergeron and the Bruins will begin their 2020-21 regular season schedule Jan. 14 against the New Jersey Devils on the road.