BOSTON – These days, Brad Marchand is the old guy around the rink.

The 35-year-old is in his 15th season with the Bruins and his first as the team’s captain.

But when the winger gets back around his teammates from the 2011 Stanley Cup championship club, he’s still the youngster.

“I’m still the guy that gets picked on. It’s funny, I’m the old guy in here but when we all get together, I’m the young guy again,” Marchand said on Thursday morning following the B’s pregame skate. “There’s two much bigger, stronger captains in that room than me [in Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara]. They’ll humble me pretty quick. I’ve learned that multiple times before. They’re a lot of fun to be around.”

Marchand was reflecting on a special couple of days in Boston as the club celebrated its final Centennial Era Night with the ‘Return of a Champion’ ceremony honoring the 2011 team.

“It’s a lot of fun,” said Marchand, who was just a 23-year-old rookie when the B’s won the Cup in 2011. “You don’t realize how fast the time goes by. It just feels like yesterday we were together and the memories of our time together. It was so special. Some of the great stories that we had to talk about.

“It’s great to see everyone and hear how their lives are now with their families post-career. A lot of great time catching up. It was a great experience. The guys are gonna have a lot of fun, last night and today and tonight. It’s pretty incredible.”

The 2011 team, as well as members of the early 2000s Bruins clubs, reunited for a private dinner on Wednesday evening before convening again for Thursday’s morning skate at TD Garden, as well as Boston’s tilt against Toronto.

“It's been awesome,” said former bench boss Claude Julien, who spent 10 seasons with the Bruins and is the club’s all-time winningest coach with 419 victories. “Honestly, there's so much I could talk about. First of all, coming back here to an organization where I spent 10 great years, not only as a coach, but as a family…we still to a certain extent consider this home.

“At the same time, seeing your players that you had an opportunity to win a Stanley Cup with, and seeing the transition that we're all making in life, some still in hockey, some in and other areas. It's just great to catch up. As they say, when you win together, you're together for life.

“From our dinner last night to the after-hour activities that happened afterwards and catching up…it's been great. Honestly, I know you hear that a lot…but to the Jacobs family, the Bruins organization, Cam [Neely], [Don Sweeney]…getting this organized has made a lot of happy people. Everybody has been excited to be here, and that that includes me.”

Marchand talks after Bruins beat Leafs 4-1

When the 2011 team arrived at the ceremony, they did so aboard a gold duck boat, before being introduced one by one to the TD Garden crowd. Zdeno Chara was last, picking up the Stanley Cup from keeper of the Cup Phil Pritchard on his way to the ice.

"It's a super special night," said Chara, the B's captain from 2006-20. "Some of them I haven't seen for for a long time, so it's nice to kind of revisit and pend some time together and talk about their lives and the adjustments and all the stuff that we went through, I guess, since we stopped playing's a special event. Special to see, everyone. We've been through a lot and we have some very special memories together. Those are always great moments.”

When Chara reached the ice, he joined Julien, assistant coach Doug Jarvis, Daniel Paille, Andrew Ference, Shawn Thornton, Chris Kelly, Tim Thomas, Shane Hnidy, Tuukka Rask, Dennis Seidenberg, David Krejci, Steven Kampfer, Johnny Boychuk, Jordan Caron, Adam McQuaid, Michael Ryder, and Marchand.

“It’s great. Just to see the guys and get together and come back and be a part of this is really nice,” said Ryder. “I haven’t seen guys in a long time, and just to catch up is great. It’s good to be a part of it.

“We were a pretty tight-knit team, and we stood up for each other. We just played for each other. It was just a great experience, and didn’t think we’d get there, but we just kept pushing and pushing and stayed together as a team. All the ups and downs build that character.”

And it builds a bond, one that still lives on 13 years later.

“We still have a group chat going, we all stay in touch,” said Shawn Thornton. “There’s nothing like being able to accomplish something like winning a Stanley Cup. That bond never goes away.

“The way that everyone bought into the common goal and playing the same way and the focus was on winning a Cup and being happier for your teammate to have success more than your individual success. I think you look around, all the guys are still in shape. Everyone’s a hard-working individual…skill level didn’t matter, everyone was for the common goal and get it done.

“[Ten-plus] years later, everyone’s still got that mentality of being happy for each other.”

That camaraderie was evident as the current iteration of the Black & Gold was able to spend a bit of time with the former Bruins over the course of the day.

“It was just great to see so many of those guys around, and happy to be back in Boston,” said coach Jim Montgomery. “You can tell that when you win a Stanley Cup together, there’s a special bond. You could tell that with that group. It’s nice for our players to see it.”

2011 Bruins celebrated at Centennial Era Night

Turning Back the Clock

In addition to the 2011 Cup team, a number of players from the early 2000s were also in attendance for Thursday’s Era Night, which recognized the Bruins from 2001-present. Mike Knuble, Sean O’Donnell, Byron Dafoe, Hal Gill, P.J. Axelsson, Jason Allison, and Kyle McLaren were the players to represent those clubs.

“It's incredible. There’s guys that I haven't seen in almost 25 years,” said Dafoe, the B’s netminder from 1997-2002. “We had a few pops last night together and it was like no time went by. Even Kyle, I hadn't seen him in forever. Guys look a little more grizzled, gained a little bit more weight. But it's been a really good event and it's nice to be back in Boston.”

“I haven't been back here in the stadium, probably since 2007,” added McLaren, who manned the B’s blue line from 1995-2002. “I haven't seen Byron in forever, and seeing Hal, and there’s so many guys that I haven't seen that I wanted to get a chance to talk to and this is a great opportunity to do it.”

Russo talks with McLaren, Dafoe before Era Night

Wait, There’s More

Julien on the growth of Marchand into the Bruins captain: “To be honest, I wasn't surprised. When Bergy retired and his name came up, I really thought he was going to be the candidate. What people most people didn't see from Brad is from year one, when it came to game time, he would show up at the rink…he was always very professional and serious about his preparation for games. He would come in the room and he'd be stretching, he'd be watching video, watching it closely and listening, and he was a real pro. So I think he's a great example for the team now to see what it's going to take, because he's had the opportunity to learn from the Zdeno Charas of this world, the Krejcis, the Bergerons, the [Mark] Recchis…all of these guys we’ve talked about that have been great leaders. I know I'm leaving some names out…but he has a chance to carry that now into this group, and hopefully build some players like the players before built him…short answer, not surprised. And I think deserving.”

Julien talks with the media before Era Night

Montgomery on Julien reading the starting lineup on Thursday night: “Claude did starting lineup tonight. I’m a big fan of Claude Julien. He’s been a remarkable coach. I remember when I was in the American League and he was the first time head coach in the American League in Hamilton. I remember how well his teams played. As you become an older player, you start to recognize teams that play cohesively, play an intelligent brand of game, and a hardened brand of game. Obviously, his coaching career I’ve tracked, and he’s someone that I’ve talked on the phone with, several times, prior to being the head coach of Boston.”

Montgomery talks with the media after B's beat Leafs

Chara on what he misses most: “I think thatm obviously, being with the guys. You're going through a lot during your career, there are some ups, there are some downs, but to have your teammates, they become more than just the teammates, to share those moments. And those, those tough times to be able to go through them together. You get to know each other, get to know each other's families and creating these friendships, that's something that you miss the most. You don't do that anymore...when you're playing, you have that every day and look out for the friends and those connections.”

Chara talks before BOS vs. TOR Era Night

Thornton on the success of the Merlot Line: “We were all involved in the community, first and foremost, this organization, this town. Piesy lived here in the summer sometimes with me too and I think being in the community, the blue-collar mentality of this town really resonates. I think as a line we played to our strengths and complemented each other really well. Piesy was one of the fastest guys I ever played with…I was a little bit scary so I made sure nobody got picked on and Soupy was a pretty good two-way player. I think we just complemented each other well and communicated very well. We always knew a game plan going on of how we were going to support the team…when it was explained to me about this town before I came here, I think it was understated on how much we were going to relate with the city. Winning helps, but really few this was home from the time we got here.”

Russo talks Merlot Line with Thornton and Paille

Ryder on his memorable glove save (Game 5) and overtime goal (Game 4) in the 2011 first-round series against Montreal: “That’s the thing, everybody does a different part at a time. Everybody scores different goals in the right times, and it might not be a goal. It could be something else, the glove save. It just happens, and that's what it was. That’s how you win. Everybody pulls their part at different times, and that's what gets you to your end goal.”

Ryder talks with Russo before Era Night

Dafoe on Linus Ullmark’s 2023 Winter Classic pads being a nod to his old Bruins equipment: “I was honored. He reached out to me about when he was gonna do it for the outdoor game. And I was like, that'd be awesome…the history of the Bruins, 100 years, is just amazing. And you look at all the players and all the success the organization has had, and what I'm quite proud of, is how much success they've had in the last 20 years since I've been gone. It's brought Boston back to the glory days of what it's used to. And again, you can't pick a better organization or a city for the fans to be a part of.”