A sea of Bruins jerseys, sweaters identified with the number 37 everywhere and “Patrice, Patrice, Patrice! that resonate from all four corners of the Videotron Centre. No doubt, the Gagné-Bergeron Pro-Am was an opportunity for the people of Quebec to show all their love for Patrice Bergeron.
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The 15e edition of the charity event gave a taste of all the tributes to which the Quebecer, newly retired from professional hockey, after 19 seasons in the NHL, should be entitled in the coming years.
Several fans showed up at the Videotron Center with a Bruins jersey bearing the effigy of Bergeron.
Photo QMI Agency, Pascal Huot
This edition of the Pro-Am is the last for Bergeron and his sidekick Simon Gagné, as well as for the founder of the event, Alain Rioux. It was a great opportunity to be able to cheer the 38-year-old athlete one last time in the Boston uniform.
Tons of praise
The wave of love for the native of L’Ancienne-Lorette was also transposed in the locker rooms and behind the scenes of the amphitheater. The twenty players who accepted his invitation multiplied the good comments about him, starting with his good friend and teammate Brad Marchand.
“I’m still trying to convince him to stay,” joked the little Bruins plague, adding that Bergeron is “the kind of guy you want your daughter to marry.”
“Life without him is going to be different. He is a very great mentor for everyone. He remains one of the best defensive forwards to have played hockey,” he praised.
” An idol “
The first female guest in the history of the Gagné-Bergeron Pro-Am, Élizabeth Giguère, praised the leadership of Bergeron, she who played with the Boston Pride last year, in the Premier Hockey Federation.
“He’s an idol to me. He’s a guy who’s always performed in the NHL and he’s always been a good person,” she said.
“He’s the perfect hockey player. He is a role model for all players. (…) When he was playing, I hope there were some who took notes, ”added new member of the New York Rangers Alex Belzile.
Photo QMI Agency, Pascal Huot
The parade of praise went on like this for long minutes. Yanni Gourde, brothers Pierre-Olivier and Mathieu Joseph, Jordan Harris, Jakob Pelletier and the others have in turn expressed their admiration for Patrice Bergeron.
“Life after Patrice is going to be a transition,” said defender Brandon Carlo, who shared the locker room with the hero of the day for seven seasons. We are lucky to have been close to him and it will be up to us to find a way to carry on without him. »
Canadian defender Jordan Harris, originally from Boston, was visibly happy to join the event.
“When Patrice calls, you listen,” he said to show all the respect he gives him.
Help the community
On Wednesday, during a virtual press conference, Patrice Bergeron recalled how important it was to help his community. Since 2009, the Pro-Am Gagné-Bergeron has raised more than $4 million for the benefit of sick and disadvantaged children in Quebec.
Today, it is the Quebec community that has made sure to give back to its local hero.
Starting next year, the Pro-Am Gagné-Bergeron will be renamed the Pro-Am Sun Life, with the names of two honorary captains, who will be NHL players who will change every year.