BOSTON - The Bruins put down their helmets and hockey sticks in favor of sweatbands and ping pong paddles Thursday night during the inaugural Pucks and Paddles ping pong tournament hosted by Patrice Bergeron and 98.5 The Sports Hub at Royale Boston. The entire roster was on hand to participate in a two-on-two, single-elimination competition alongside on-air personalities from 98.5 The Sports Hub and winning auction bidders, with all of the proceeds going to Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center.
"It went well," said Bergeron. "I thought it was a lot of fun…The fans showed up and, obviously, contributed for this to be a successful event, so for a first year, we're really happy."
The event raised a grand total of $110,000 for Floating Hospital, adding to the already impressive charity work that Bergeron and his teammates have done over the years.
"We're really proud of that," Bergeron said. "It's a big number, and everyone is working hard - the Boston Bruins Foundation and everyone involved in making this event possible."
The tournament was a tightly-fought battle until the very end, with David Pastrnak and his partner defeating Brad Marchand and his partner in the final round to take home the first-ever Pucks and Paddles championship trophy.
Bergeron cruised through the competition before longtime linemate Marchand topped him in the semifinals. Although the natural competitor in him was disappointed with the loss, Bergeron stayed focused on the real reasons for the event.
"I thought the last game, I probably let my teammate down a bit, the way the game ended, but it was all fun," he said. "There's a lot of good players; some guys were taking it very seriously, but at the end of the day, it is all for a good cause and raising money, and that's why we're all here."
"You always tell everyone - the young guys, even the veterans - that it's important to get involved and to give back to the community. I think it's a perfect example, perfect event to do so…it's an opportunity to get together and to bond and to have fun.
"A lot of the guys were laughing and chirping each other about their game and what not, so it's been a lot of fun today."