BostonBruins.com -- Earlier this week, as I sat in T. Anthony's pizza on Commonwealth Avenue after a Bruins informal skate, it occurred to me that my hockey-writing career had come full circle.
After starting in the Sports Information Office at Boston University in 1996, where as a student I helped others cover the exploits of future NHLers like Shawn Bates, Chris Drury, and Tom Poti at Walter Brown Arena, I was closing my NHL career watching another former Terrier, Mike Grier, now retired from the NHL (and like me, BU Class of 1997), put the Bruins through their paces as they prepared for the upcoming campaign at Agganis Arena.
It was a good place to finish my full time coverage of professional hockey.
On Monday, January 14th, I return to school -- literally -- as the Webmaster at Lawrence Academy in Groton, Massachusetts, and this is my last regular post for BostonBruins.com.
Since September of 2006, I have covered the Boston Bruins nearly everyday and reported as the club climbed out of the bottom of the league standings to become Stanley Cup champions and perennial contenders.
It's been an amazing ride and for that privilege I want to say thank you.
● Thanks to the management and staff at the TD Garden and Boston Bruins, especially Jeremy and Charlie Jacobs, Cam Neely, Peter Chiarelli, Don Sweeney, Jim Benning and Claude Julien. It wasn't easy to have a writer embedded with your team, but your foresight allowed readers and viewers unique access to your players true character and I hope a better understanding of Bruins hockey.
● Thanks to the players, especially Zdeno Chara, P.J. Axelsson, Patrice Bergeron, Andrew Ference, Marc Savard, Mark Stuart, Marco Sturm, Tim Thomas and Shawn Thornton, all of who answered my questions -- even those of a then inexperienced reporter -- with patience and class. It was a sincere honor to report on your greatest moments. A special thanks also to the Development Camp class of 2007, including Tommy Cross, David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, Adam McQuaid and Tuukka Rask - I was pleased to drive all of you around Boston when you first donned Black & Gold. It’s been a pleasure “growing up” in pro hockey with you.
● Thanks to the B's assistant coaches, scouts, medical personnel, trainers and support staff (with a special emphasis on Johnny "Chief" Bucyk). All of you became my extended hockey family and my life in and around the rinks of North America (Northern Ireland and the Czech Republic) was made better by seeing your faces around the locker room, in the stands and on the benches. Thanks for taking care of me, guys.
● Thanks to my colleagues at BostonBruins.com and Bruins Media Relations, Darrell Wood, Matt Chmura, Heidi Holland, Eric Tosi, Kelly Mohr and Caryn Switaj. You made the long days bearable, the longer days survivable and all of you simply made me better. Thanks also to my partner in crime at bostonbruinsTV, Jonathan Gotlib for being such a good collaborator and friend (and bowling partner). I'm sorry for all the extra takes (and open frames).
● Thanks to all of the interns and game night staffers - your contribution was never unnoticed or unappreciated. Everything we've produced on BostonBruins.com or bostonbruinsTV is a testament to your hard work and dedication.
● Thanks also to my fellow reporters and media members (in Boston and around the world), particularly those of you who helped usher me into the world of professional hockey. "On the record" I am thankful for your mentoring and friendship.
But thanks most of all to the Boston Bruins fans…
Nothing we do on Causeway Street happens without you. Serving you has been one of the great honors of my life and I thank you sincerely for each click, page view, comment, critique and compliment.
Next week, in my living room, I'll join my wonderful family (especially my wife Andrea and my sons Jack and Scott), who all both inspired and allowed me the time to pursue my dream of following the B’s around the globe, while we watch the season unfold on NESN, the Sports Hub and, of course BostonBruins.com.
Like all of you, I’ll be excited to see the B's return to the ice this winter, all while I anticipate hockey heaven in the spring.
It’s been a pleasure, folks. And I know I leave the site in good hands with Caryn (^CS), Jonny (^TV) and crew (^BB).
John Bishop (^BISH)