Mark Recchi, last year’s now-retired assistant captain certainly wasn’t going to miss this celebration.
“It was great to get that last opportunity to go on the ice with the guys and go on the ice, period, as an NHL player,” said Recchi, who suited up in his B's uniform. “I love the guys, and they mean the world to me, and it was a great experience, to be here with them for that.”
"The guys" were glad to share it with him, too, and had a little surprise in store. Near the end of the pregame on-ice ceremony, Andrew Ference
, who assumed an ‘A’ from Recchi, took to the podium holding an item familiar to those who followed last season’s playoff run: the Bruins jacket that made its way around the locker room at the end of each game to a deserving player.
Recchi earned that jacket after raising the Stanley Cup in Vancouver, and his former teammates wanted to give it to him one last time tonight
“To be able to get it last in Vancouver and then get it repeated tonight, in front of [a] home crowd, is something I’ll never forget,” he said. “We’re going to put it in a case here…somewhere in the dressing room. That’s where it belongs, and I want to keep it here.”
Having Ference present it made the moment even more special, Recchi said.
“He puts a lot of thought into [things like that], and he’s a great leader,” he said. “Andrew’s the first one to tell you that you don’t need a letter to be a leader, but he deserves it.”
Recchi is no stranger to hoisting the Cup – he won once with Carolina and once with Pittsburgh – but retiring after a winning season and after playing with last year’s Bruins team was extra special.
“I came back for one reason...and that was to get that last shot at winning again,” Recchi said. “To finish on top with this group, it really did mean the world to me….It’s a special time, and to end your career on something that special with a group of guys that you truly do love and want to be around.”
The hockey veteran may be hanging up his skates, but tonight wasn’t the last fans will see of him.
“The second half of the year, I might do a little bit of TV just to keep myself in the game, and at some point I want to get into management,” Recchi said “But between juniors and now, it’s been 26 years of going at it, and I need to take a break and hang out with my kids.”