– Following practice on Sunday afternoon, current Bruins joined alumni and other members of the organization for the third annual Slice the Ice event to benefit the Boston Bruins Foundation.
At the event, that raises nearly $100,000 every year for the Foundation, fans were able to skate on the TD Garden ice and take pictures on the Bruins bench, in the penalty box, and with the 2011 Stanley Cup banner. Those in attendance also got the chance to take a tour of the Bruins locker room, have a meet-and-greet with players and alumni, and bid on auction items.
Adam McQuaid, Dougie Hamilton, Lane MacDermid, Jordan Caron and Chris Kelly joined former Bruins at the event, including B's President Cam Neely, Executive Director of the Boston Bruins Foundation, Bob Sweeney, Barry Pederson, Bob Beers, and Tommy Songin.
The current Bruins that attended were happy to get the chance to interact with the fans, something they haven't been able to do much of in this shortened, and hectic, regular season.
"It's a busy schedule, so there's not too many of these events," said MacDermid. "It's always fun to see the fans. They're always excited to see us and have pictures and stuff. It's fun to give back."
Sweeney, who says it has been tough to plan events in this abbreviated campaign, was grateful that some of the players came out to lend support.
“We really appreciate them giving their time, we know the season is so condensed,” he said. “Appreciate them giving their time today and giving the fans something to come out for."
“We had a great turnout, seems like everybody's having a good time here. Everybody's happy. It's a great event for us that raises a lot of funds to support all of our initiatives.”
Despite the team not having much down time as of late, Adam McQuaid said it’s important that the B's give back to the fans, especially when it is for a good cause.
“It's a rare opportunity that we get, to mingle with the fans, kind of get to meet the people that support us night in and night out here,” said McQuaid, who is currently out with a shoulder strain. “It's always a good experience, especially when there can be some money raised to go to a great foundation. I think it's a win-win for everybody.”
MacDermid, whose father, Paul, played in the NHL, remembers the fun he had being around the locker room as a kid, so he was enjoying the opportunity to provide that same experience for others on Sunday.
"When I was younger I saw a few players, it was always a special occasion to meet NHL hockey players," he said. "It's fun to give back to the kids and it's for a good cause, so I enjoy it."
Dougie Hamilton, who has been grateful for his time among the fans in his first pro season, remembers fondly his visit with an NHL team when he was a kid.
"I got to go in the Leafs dressing room after a game when I was younger," said the Toronto native. "I think it's one of the memories I haven't forgotten and I think that it's cool to have kids come around the rink."
"It's kind of different, you imagine being in their shoes and remember what it was like. It's a lot of fun to do it."
One of those kids at TD Garden was Zach, from Norton, who attended the event with his family. He was thrilled at the opportunity to skate on the same ice as his favorite player, Patrice Bergeron.
“It's awesome, it's crazy,” he said, sporting a Bergeron jersey. “I've been to plenty of games and stuff, but never got to actually be on the ice, so it's been pretty good.
“I think it's a real good thing that they do here for everyone, the kids.”
Zach was looking forward to making his way back to the ice to get autographs from Jordan Caron and Chris Kelly, who sat on the bench surrounded by a herd of B’s fans.
“I think they were around Jordan, I just happened to be there,” joked Kelly. “The fans are awesome in Boston, they're well educated on the game, which is great."
“They appreciate all the guys and what they bring to the table. I love the city of Boston, love the people, they're so friendly."
“It's a great city.”