Boston, MA --
|Terry O'Reilly at the Harbor Cruise.
Every year, Terry “Taz” O’Reilly looks forward to the Pan-Mass Challenge, and as the Vice President of the Bruins Alumni Association, O’Reilly, a former captain and coach of the Black & Gold, remains actively involved in the Bruins organization.
“It is a real nice way to stay in touch with my friends and former teammates,” O’Reilly says of his involvement. “Bob Sweeney (the Director of Development for the Boston Bruins Foundation) recently stepped down as President of the Alumni Association and Rick Middleton (took over) and I assumed the Vice President position, so we work together and it is just a great way to stay in touch.”
Although the Bruins Alumni help with a variety of events including charity events, community appearances and alumni games, it’s clear that the rigorous bike ride from Sturbridge to Bourne, Massachusetts has a special place in O’Reilly’s heart.
“The PMC is my favorite event, and I love doing it as part of the Bruins team,” he said as recently as the Bruins 2008 NHL Draft Party.
However, enjoying the ride, and preparing for the ride, are two different subjects.
“We are ready,” O’Reilly said during the B’s Harbor Cruise. “(Teammate) Judy (Songin) and I have gone on four or five good rides that have increased in length. We did one on Sunday that was 74 miles long.
“But what we do is train enough just to survive the ride.”
Well, it is almost time to see if the “training” paid off.
“We have been doing a combination of training and fundraising events,” explained O’Reilly, the B’s all-time leader in penalty minutes. “But the (Harbor Cruise) will be the last real social event and fundraising event.
“Now, hopefully we will rest up for a few days and then head down to Sturbridge on Friday.”
Even though the charity event is a grueling one, it has its benefits, especially for O’Reilly. He explained that growing older you realize that cancer touches everyone and all the proceeds from the PMC go to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute to help fund cancer research.
The ride also helps the team members remember those people who have lost their battle with cancer.
|Terry on the course in 2007. |
“When we ride for somebody, we will always ride for them,” he says of the team’s 2006 Pedal Partner, Jeff Hayes – a young friend of the Bruins who passed away in January 2007.
But another benefit for O’Reilly and the team are the happy feelings that it brings to the cyclists.
“(It brings back those feelings) in a way because we are all working together in a common goal,” he said. “Especially on the second day when we come across the finish line.
“We sort of meet outside the finish line because we get stretched out over the course of the day, so we wait and pull together and cross the line as a team.”
That camaraderie is the best part of the event for O’Reilly, being that he is not riding in the race for the competition.
“Well...,” he chuckled when asked if the race got the competitive juices flowing, “Don Sweeney is a very competitive rider and he has a chance to finish among the top couple of riders.
“But the rest of us are just trying to get across the finish line.
“We are just trying to raise money for a very good cause,” he said.
If you would like more information on donating to the Boston Bruins Pan Mass Challenge Bike Team, click here