EVERETT, MA – What’s Black and Gold and Red all over? Twenty-five Bruins decked out in Santa caps, roaming the toy aisles of the Target in Everett, MA.
On December 3rd, the entire team roster participated in the Boston Bruins annual Holiday Toy Shopping event presented by Wynn Everett.
The B’s took this rare four-day game hiatus as an opportunity to bring some holiday cheer to over 600 children who will be unable to celebrate the holidays at home this year, continuing the tradition of toy shopping and delivery that Bruins Hall of Famer Ray Bourque started during his time as captain.
A now veteran of the event, Shawn Thornton was eager to start a day that he and his fellow teammates look forward to every year.
“The guys get a kick out of it. We really embrace it. It’s neat to come out and pick up all these toys for the kids; it’s even better when we get to deliver them.”
Each Bruin donned his jersey and set out with a clipboard full of requests for toys, clothing, DVDs, and various other gifts to be bought with a budget drawn from the more than twenty-three thousand dollar total donation.
“I didn’t realize you can buy this many toys with nine hundred dollars,” said centerman Gregory Campbell. “It’s a lot of history and we’re extremely fortunate that when the holidays roll around we’re able to make a list and help them get most of [it].”
While Thornton and Campbell are glad to be back behind the shopping carts, the experience is also extremely rewarding for newcomers like Reilly Smith, who realize that giving back to the community is a welcomed responsibility of those who wear the Spoked-B.
“They do so much to give back to the community, and that doesn’t happen in very many organizations,” says Smith of Patrice Bergeron (who’s spearheaded the event for the past four years) and his other teammates. “To have that kind of leadership on the team, it’s just kind of a mindset to always give back to the community because they do so much for us and we wouldn’t have a hockey team if it wasn’t for the fans.”
This year’s toy donations will go to a variety of organizations including Boston Children's Hospital, Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center, MassGeneral Hospital for Children, Shriners Hospital for Children, Franciscan Hospital for Children, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Toys for Tots Malden Campaign, and Housing Families of Malden.
As the gifts piled up, it was easy to imagine the smiles of the children who will soon receive their holiday toys mirrored in the grins of all members of the Bruins hockey club.
“15 minutes – we’re on our second cart!” Thornton boasted. “I like this, we’re just throwing stuff in. The kids are going to be spoiled this year I can’t wait.”