Boston, MA – As they took to the TD Garden ice on Thursday, many of the B’s must have thought their helmets fit just a little bit looser and the ice felt just a little bit colder.
The day before, Bruins fans bid on the right to shave 12 players’ heads as part of Shawn Thornton’s and 98.5 The Sportshub’s Third Annual “Cuts for a Cause.”
The event raised over $25,000, all going to benefit the Boston Bruins Foundation and MassGeneral Hospital for Children’s Pediatric Oncology Unit.
Pioneered by former Boston Bruin Aaron Ward, the Cuts for a Cause tradition was continued this year by current B’s enforcer, Shawn Thornton.
“Obviously Wardo had most of the legs underneath it two years ago, and then when I found out he got traded and I was taking over his spot on [98.5 The Sports Hub] with Toucher & Rich, I just asked them if they wanted to continue on and I’d be more than happy to do it,” Thornton said. “I figured since I hadn’t shaved in a few years, I’d be a good person to do it.”
In fact, Thornton admitted that it had been slightly more than a few years since his hair had been that short, and for good reason.
“I’m a little nervous. I haven’t had my head shaved since I was 15, and I vowed never to do it again,” he said, adding, “I have a very deformed head with a lot of scars on it. But whatever, it’s for a good cause, so I’m excited.”
In addition to Thornton, the other the B’s that took to the barbershop chairs on stage at Ned Devine’s were Patrice Bergeron, Tuukka Rask, Milan Lucic, Dennis Seidenberg, Brad Marchand, Mark Recchi, Johnny Boychuk, Mark Stuart, Steve Begin, and Daniel Paille.
Bergeron, who’s gone under the clippers three years running, explained why the event has remained a highlight of the B’s season.
“It feels good. It’s pretty easy to do, you know, it’s going to grow back, it’s not a big deal. And also, it’s a good chance to come and meet some fans and raise some money for a great cause,” he said.
The centerman added that in the past, the event seems to have created the karma that team needed for back-to-back playoff appearances.
“If that’s what we need to do to make a run in the playoffs, we’ll do anything pretty much,” he said with a smile.
His fellow newly-bald teammate, Shawn Thornton, echoed the same optimism.
“Hopefully it’s a little bit of good luck,” he said, laughing. “Maybe I can score another goal after this, maybe it’s the karma I need.”
Karma aside, all the players agreed that the cause is worth the loose helmet and cold head.
The money raised will go to support MassGeneral Hospital for Children's HOPES program, which provides art and music therapy to children receiving cancer treatment and their siblings.
“The city’s behind us so much,” said Mark Stuart, who participated in the event all three years. “They care so much about their sports and the Bruins, so anytime we can get out in the community and help out, I think it’s a really big deal.
“It’s always fun doing these kinds of events. Just seeing the kids with smiles on their faces, it’s fun.”
Mother/daughter pair Denise and Meredith Presby of Concord, NH, had the winning bid on forward Steve Begin’s head. They also participated in the inaugural year, shaving Dennis Wideman’s head.
So why shell out upwards of $500 to give a Bruin a haircut? Well it’s simple, according to the Presby family.
“We follow the Bruins in the good times and bad,” said Denise, with her daughter Meredith chiming in, “It was for a good cause, and we’re real hockey fans.”