By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
WILMINGTON -- Patrice Bergeron will miss both preseason games against the Montreal Canadiens over the next two days while his No. 37 jersey is retired by the Acadie Bathurst junior hockey team for which he starred back in the 2002-2003 junior hockey season.
He's gone to Bathurst. He's going to meet us in Montreal, said Claude Julien. He's a guy that I don't plan on playing the next two games. That's why I played him the first two: because he was going there. But he will be at practice with us on Monday morning in Montreal.
Bergeron potted 74 points in 74 games for Bathurst in two seasons for the Quebec Major Junior League team as a 16- and 17 year-old out of the Quebec City area, and was expected to return after he was drafted in the second round by the Bruins in the 2003 draft.
But Bergeron showed all of the toughness, skill and hockey sense as a teenager that now make him such an exceptional player, and he made a playoff-caliber Bruins team as the youngest player in the NHL during the 2003-04 season. The rest is history for Bergeron, who has battled concussions to become one of the best two-way centers in the league. He has reached the pinnacle with Olympic Gold for Team Canada and a Stanley Cup with the Bruins over the last two years.
So Acadie Bathurst is retiring Bergeron's No. 37 jersey on Sunday afternoon at the K.C. Irving Recreational Centre prior to a QMJHL game for the Titans, and will miss the Sunday game in Halifax against the Habs entirely. Bergeron will meet up with the team in Montreal at the Bell Centre for a Monday practice, and will likely appear in at least one of the final two preseason games leading up to their Oct. 6 season opener against the Philadelphia Flyers.