Its officially a mass exodus of Boston Bruins to the European hockey leagues. Just hours after it was confirmed that team captain Zdeno Chara was headed to the KHL, CSNNE.com has confirmed that Patrice Bergeron has signed on with HC Lugano of the Swiss League on Tuesday afternoon. The team's web site had the initial report.
According to Chris Johnson of the Canadian Press, a portion of Bergerons salary will be funded outside the team and is likely going toward the sizable insurance policy needed to play overseas.
Bergeron will be reunited in Switzerland with former Bs teammate Glen Metropolit, who is tied for the team lead on Lugano in points scored. He'll leave the states on Friday, and is set to play fellow Bruins teammate Tyler Seguin, also playing in the Swiss League, on October 20.
Bergerons agent, Kent Hughes, had indicated to CSNNE.com over a week ago that Switzerland was the leading suitor for the Bs alternate captains services. But Bergeron waited to play in the opening game of the Quebec Caravan League last week in a match that pitted the hockey stars of Montreal vs. Quebec City, and then opted for a Swiss League that will pit him against linemate Tyler Seguin.
Its standard operating procedure in Europe for teams to hit up local companies or the ticket purchasing fans for additional funds if theres a certain standout player the team is interested in acquiring. Bergeron is the seventh Bruins player to sign a European contract joining Chara, Tyler Seguin, Andrew Ference, David Krejci, Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin overseas while the NHL sits in neutral due to the lockout.
Like all of his Bruins teammates, Bergeron has an out clause in his contract with HC Lugano that will allow him to return to Boston ifwhen the NHL lockout ends and the regular season begins.
Lugano's web site also indicated that Bergeron will be reporting to Switzerland for duty in the coming days.