Bruins from 2011 continue to showcase their strong camaraderie

Photo of Boston Bruins unify to celebrate their achievement from 2011.

Thirteen years later, the Stanley Cup champions gathered for a Centennial celebration in Boston. Brad Marchand, now 35 and serving as the team’s captain for the first time in his 15th season with the Bruins, found himself reminiscing about his youth when surrounded by his former teammates from the 2011 championship team.

Reflecting on the occasion, Marchand humorously admitted, “I’m still the guy that gets picked on. It’s funny, I’m the old guy in here but when we all get together, I’m the young guy again.” He acknowledged the presence of stronger captains like Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara, who could “humble” him quickly, yet he found their camaraderie enjoyable.

The celebration, dubbed the ‘Return of a Champion,’ marked the climax of the club’s final Centennial Era Night. Marchand, who was just a 23-year-old rookie during the 2011 Cup win, expressed his joy at reuniting with former teammates, reminiscing about their shared experiences and fond memories.

The festivities included a private dinner on Wednesday followed by a morning skate at TD Garden and a game against Toronto on Thursday. Former Bruins coach Claude Julien, the team’s all-time winningest coach, also reflected on the reunion, emphasizing the enduring bonds forged through their shared triumphs.

Julien expressed, “When you win together, you’re together for life,” highlighting the lasting impact of their time together on and off the ice. Overall, the reunion brought joy and nostalgia to the former teammates, reinforcing the strong bonds formed through their shared experiences as champions.

Arriving at the ceremony, the 2011 team made a grand entrance aboard a gold duck boat and were individually introduced to the TD Garden crowd. Zdeno Chara, who captained the Bruins from 2006 to 2020, had the privilege of being the last to be introduced, receiving the Stanley Cup from keeper Phil Pritchard before stepping onto the ice.

Reflecting on the significance of the occasion, Chara commented, “It’s a super special night. Some of them I haven’t seen for a long time, so it’s nice to kind of reconnect and spend time together, discussing their lives and the changes since we stopped playing hockey…it’s a special event. It’s great to see everyone. We’ve been through a lot and share some very special memories. Those moments are always cherished.”

Joining Chara on the ice were former teammates including Julien, assistant coach Doug Jarvis, and players like Daniel Paille, Andrew Ference, Shawn Thornton, Chris Kelly, and Tim Thomas.

Michael Ryder reflected on the team’s close bond, stating, “We were a pretty tight-knit team, and we stood up for each other. We just played for each other. It was a great experience, and we never thought we’d get there, but we kept pushing and staying united as a team. All the ups and downs shaped our character.”

Shawn Thornton emphasized the enduring connection among the players, saying, “We still have a group chat going, we all stay in touch. There’s nothing like achieving something like winning a Stanley Cup. That bond never fades.”

The camaraderie between past and present Bruins was evident throughout the day, as Coach Jim Montgomery remarked, “It was great to see so many of those guys around, and to be back in Boston. When you win a Stanley Cup together, there’s a special bond. You could sense it with that group. It’s a nice experience for our players to witness.”


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