BOLTON, Mass. - Beautiful weather and gorgeous golf courses at The International in Bolton, MA, made for a picture perfect afternoon at the 13th Annual Boston Bruins Foundation Golf Tournament, presented by Congruity.
Suffice to say, the Bruins players were excited to get a round in before the rigors of NHL training camp take shape in the coming weeks. The annual benefit in support of the Boston Bruins Foundation generally marks the first time the team comes together after the offseason, drawing excitement from players, staff, and alumni.
"Every year, it's kind of like a date that's circled on the calendar that everyone's kind of back in town at this point," said Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller , who signed a four-year contract extension with the team back on May 24th.
While an imposing force on the ice, Miller, along with many of his Bruins teammates, downplayed their golfing abilities, insisting there would be nothing riding on the afternoon round.
"No, no side bets on this," laughed Miller. "My game's not very good in the golf aspect, so I'm going to hold my bets."
Regardless of their opinions of their own golf games, the Bruins were ready to hit the links and spend a day outside with fans for a great cause.
One of the highlights of the tournament is the appearance of many Bruins alumni, including Bruins President Cam Neely, General Manager Don Sweeney, Ray Bourque and Rick Middleton, among others.
"It's a big part of the kickoff," said Sweeney. "The foundation does a great job, with Bobby [Bob Sweeney] and his whole staff. You see how many players come back and support it on both sides of the ledger."
"Current players and former players which I think is incredibly important for the rich history of the organization, and it's a good way for those two groups to intermix as well."
"We've got young kids that are just coming into the organization for the first time," Sweeney continued. "We've got established people who have been around this organization for a long time as players and I think it's important to make sure you connect those generations."
The tournament was unique this year, given that some of the players were at the World Cup of Hockey, along with Head Coach Claude Julien.
Still, it generated excitement among the group.
"Everyone is really excited," said Frank Vatrano . "Captain's practices have been going great, and workouts have been going awesome. So, now having this golf tournament, everyone can kind of get together right before camp starts, and I think it's kind of a good bonding thing, and it's always fun to golf. Everyone's excited for camp to start."
With rookie camp starting at the end of this week and training camp next, there's plenty for Bruins fans and players alike to be excited about.
"It's great. I haven't seen the guys in five months or something like that, so it's fun to come out," said Ryan Spooner . "I mean, I'm awful at golf so it should be fun, but I think it's my second time here and it's a fun time for sure."
When the B's hit the links in support of the Boston Bruins Foundation, hockey is right around the corner.
"Long summer," said Colin Miller . "I think everybody's excited to be back and kind of have that first week of practices and get everything going."
"Definitely very, very excited for this year. I think there's a lot of things that this team and myself can improve on, and I think we're all just ready to get going."