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Pan-Mass Challenge Bike Team: Success

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
John Bishop is the beat writer for He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room. A graduate of Boston U. and Northeastern, 'Bish' grew up in Connecticut and moved to the Hub of Hockey in 1993. Since then he has made all four rinks at the Beanpot schools, as well as both Gardens, his icebound homes away from home. Prior to joining the TD Banknorth Garden staff in 2005, Bishop had written for several publications, with his primary focus being college hockey. He coauthored the book Bygone Boston in 2003 and hopes someday to pen a bio of Hobey Baker.
Below you will find a running log of the Bruins Pan-Mass Challenge. Included are preliminary events leading up to the ride and reaction from the Bruins Pan-Mass Challenge Bike Team...

Monday, August 6
Reaction to the Ride Rolls In

Don Sweeney, Dir. of Hockey Operations
and Player Development

"The '07 PMC was a weekend filled with life-lasting memories as the Bruins team grew in numbers and our Alumni group has swollen to eight former players.

The most important moment of the event was when the entire team met, along the route on day 2, with the Hayes family and their friends to join in a prayer in Jeff's memory.

There were some teary eyes as we pedaled onward.

(Bish note: Jeff Hayes was the Bruins Pedal Partner last year. He succumbed to cancer this past January.)

Jeff's mom, Susan Hayes, was an inspiration this weekend as she completed a significant portion of the ride!

I visited with a fellow New Brunswick native (he beat me in a shoot out when we were Pee Wees!), who lost the lower portion of his left leg a few years ago, but it hasn't stopped him from riding.

Nifty, LB and I also took a photo of a boy who holds a sign with his age on it and the a thank you to all PMC riders as he crosses off each year of survival.

Bill and Laura (friends of the team) hosted us for dinner on Friday and it was a great evening.

Many kudos go to Bruins staffers Kerry Collins and Eryn Gallagher for all of their hard work. I bet that is one of the reasons why Jay Southwood wanted to ride this year -- instead of taking care of all of us! 

Congrats to first timers Dan, Jay, Brian, Nifty and Frank S...they were real troopers and they should be proud of their effort.

Many thanks to all of the Bruins Team members -- it is a nice feeling to be part of a team again!!!"

Jay Southwood, Boston Bruins Foundation, Coordinator
"The single most unforgettable aspect of the ride was the support of the fans and volunteers along the way.
The signs and cheering were endless and inspiring to say the least.
One particular instance that really got going was a young man (maybe 14, 15 years old) sitting in his front yard in his wheelchair with his mom.
She was holding a thank you sign and he had a big smile on his face. I don't know them personally, and I don't know what afflicted him, but I know that he made me feel proud of what I was doing."

Sunday, August 5
The ride is complete. Brian writes in from the road: "All finished. Great ride and time for a shower."

More in a bit...

1:21 p.m.
Rumor has it that Don Sweeney is one heck of a rider and was one of the first five finishers on Saturday.

The riders, now in Wellfleet,  have 25 miles left and are at their third and last water stop.

"The coolest thing is that everyone is out on the road," said Brian. "There are people everywhere -- ringing bells, cheering you on, and thanking you for riding."

9:28 a.m.
The riders just went by Jack O'Riordan.

Jack,  just 11, is a cancer survivor and held up a sign that said "I'm 11 thanks to you."


Saturday, August 4
7:16 p.m.
Safely ensconced on the Cape, the team is catching their wind, but Brian wrote in one more time.

"This is a wonderful event," he said. "I don't know how they pull it off.

"There are sooooo many volunteers and it's amazing that they all keep thanking the riders for what we do.

"That's especially ironic because it is what they do -- without any fanfare -- which gets us through the event," he said.

Communications issues (cell phone coverage) are still not helping anyone keep in touch with the Bish Cave -- so we may have to deal with some second hand accounts later.

The Bruins riders send out a "shout out" to team massage people Kathy and Erica!

After the hills today, the riders certainly needed their help...

Brian writes in to say that he's "blown away by all the volunteers and support from nearly every community!"

He also reports that the squad is nearing today's end point and are getting the squad together for the finish.

2:16 p.m.
Cell phone reception is curtailing much communication between and the riders, but my contact, Brian, texts in saying, "Caught up to Susan Hayes."

Susan Hayes, is, of course, the mother of Jeff Hayes, who I had mentioned earlier was the Bruins pedal partner last year.

Sadly, Jeff lost his battle against Ewing's Sarcoma and passed away in January. The team, and his mom, are riding in his memory.

Brian texted in:
"Just finished 70 miles. So far it's pretty tough. Hilly as heck."

7:41 a.m.

Brian called in at a water stop after the first 25-mile stretch was completed. describes what Brian and the other riders are encountering:

The original first day route, Sturbridge to Bourne is the longest and most difficult leg of the event. The first 50 miles are quite hilly; riders face long grueling climbs as well as very fast descents.

The last 60 miles are a combination of rolling hills and flats that if not for the first 50 miles, could be considered fairly easy.

This ride begins at 6:00 am and depending on pace and rest times, can last from 4 hours to 14 hours. Most riders arrive...between 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

"It was a pretty good ride," said Brian of his first stretch. "It was actually pretty unbelievable at 6:00 when 5000 people started this morning."

Brian also described last night's opening ceremony.

"Last night's program was very cool," he said. "They talked about our pedal partner from last year, Jeff Hayes, and introduced his family to the crowd and there was a standing ovation."

Saturday, Morning

My good friend Brian, who is riding the the B's PMC Bike Team, has offered to keep us abreast of their doings this weekend. He'll be giving us updates along the way!

Friday, August 3

Hello True Believers!

The Bruins Pan-Mass Challenge Bike Team is traveling the Mass Pike later today, by auto, and will arrive in Sturbridge this afternoon to prepare for tomorrow morning's start and to enjoy opening ceremonies this evening.

One B's rider, Jim Egan, of Land Design Associates, Inc., has taken the spirit of the ride past the finish line. He wrote in to the Bruins offices:

To help raise money for the Bruins PMC team, my company is donating design services.  For the first 10 designs, 100 percent of the cost will be donated to the Dana Farber. After that, 50 percent of the design cost will be donated.
Our work has been featured on the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, the Newton House Tour and the Audubon Society Garden Tour. 
Call 781-769-3286 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

That's a great offer Jim, Thanks!

As far as the rest of the cast and crew of this worthwhile endeavor, The Bear Essentials will cover the ride via cell phone and email with the riders this weekend. So make sure to keep refreshing the front page.

Bruins Cruise, Comedy Night, Frozen Face Off: A Big Success
Fundraising for cancer research has been the M.O. for many members of the Bruins organization for much of this month.

On Tuesday, July 31st the Boston Bruins Foundation took to Boston Harbor on-board Bay State Cruise Lines’ “Provincetown II” in an effort to raise funds for their 2007 Pan-Mass Challenge Bike Team.

Nearly 350 fans came from across the “Hub of Hockey” to enjoy beautiful scenery, great weather, and the company of Bruins alumni such as Terry O’Reilly, Don Sweeney, and Craig Janney.

Max Lane and Steve Nelson, New England Patriots Alumni, were also on hand to enjoy the summer stylings of musician Jim Plunkett and his band.

The Boston Bruins Ice Girls mingled with fans and sold raffle tickets to help raise more funds, which will be donated to the Dana-Farber Cancer Research Institute following the Bruins PMC Team's 2nd annual 192-mile trek to beat cancer.

Bruins Alumni Bob Sweeney and Lyndon Byers, both of whom will take to bicycles during the PMC, auctioneered a live auction featuring items such as a Bruins VIP Experience, Boston Celtics tickets, an autographed, limited edition photo of David Ortiz and other great prizes.

“I really want to thank all of the Bruins fans for coming out here tonight,” said Byers, co-host of WAAF’s Hill-Man morning show, as he addressed the crowd. “It’s awesome that over 300 of you showed up tonight to raise money to fight cancer.

"We couldn’t do this without you.”

The event was a success as the Bruins Foundation raised nearly $15,000 for their bike team, which has now surpassed last year’s fundraising mark of $115,000 earmarked for the Dana-Farber Cancer Research Institute.

Ha, Ha, Ha…
On July 26th, Giggles Comedy Club at the Prince Restaurant in Saugus was also the host of an evening of laughs to raise money for the fight against cancer as the PMC Bike Team, including Rick Middleton, joined fans for a successful night of comedy, food, and drinks.

The doors opened at 7:00 PM, and the 8:00 PM show featured local comedians Kevin Knox, Dave Russo, Mark Riley, Jim Laulatta, Brad Mastrangelo, and Johnny Pizzi.

Over 80 guests donated around $7,000 to a very good cause!

Not so chilly reception!
Boston Bruins fans and friends turned out on Wednesday, July 19th at the Water Club in Quincy despite Mother Nature's best efforts to rain on the parade!

Roughly 70 guests attended the 3rd Annual “Frozen Face-Off” hosted by the Boston Bruins Academy -- just another event was held to benefit the Bruins Bike Team.

“Last year we were able to make an impact for the Dana-Farber, and I just want to thank you for showing up here tonight for helping us to break last year’s fundraising mark,” said Bruins Alumni and Foundation Director of Development Bob Sweeney as he addressed the crowd.

Sweeney was in attendance along with other Bruins alumni such as Terry O’Reilly.

Fans enjoyed the Maritime feel that The Water Club offers nestled in Quincy’s Marina Bay.  The restaurant’s 2nd floor deck became a popular spot once the weather improved as fans made their way outside to check out the view of the boardwalk and harbor.

Guests enjoyed food and drinks served up by Island Oasis while participating in silent auction and raffles, which featured items such as Bruins tickets and destination golf packages.                                                                 

PMC Lineup
This year's Pan Mass Challenge Bike Team is (in alphabetical order):
Bill Barden, Lyndon Byers, Steven Caldwell, Gary Doak, Jim Egan, Brian Hayes, Susan Hayes, Kim Jacobs, Abby Lincoln, Shawn McEachern, Deborah McNamara, Rick Middleton, Terry O'Reilly, Cheryl Payne, Charlie Reichenbach, John Reichenbach, Frank Simonetti, Rob Simpson, Judie Songin, Jay Southwood, James St. Germain, Bob Sweeney, Don Sweeney, William Weiler and Dan Zimmer. Facilitators Kerry Collins and Eryn Gallagher join them and will help the team along the way.

Good luck and best wishes, guys! Have a safe trip.

Visit our PMC page, here.
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