WILMINGTON -- The Bruins players involved in the Winter Olympics in Sochi joined a growing chorus of NHL players and coaches that will be leaving their families behind in North America due to the safety concerns.
Russia has already experienced a couple of terrorist bombings over the last few months, and the threats of more with the Winter Olympic Games seem to be growing by the day.
While Zdeno Chara wouldn’t say whether or not his wife and daughter would be accompanying him to Russia, Patrice Bergeron told CSNNE.com that his parents and wife won’t be traveling to watch him play for Team Canada.
The long, arduous 12-hour flight to Russia was the reason behind Bergeron’s mother and father skipping the trip to Sochi for his second stint with the Canadian Olympic team.
But Bergeron said he and his wife decided on her staying behind given the Russian bombings, and the reports in the media like the Washington Post that Russian security officials are hunting down a trio of potential suicide bombers, one of whom is believed to be in Sochi.
“Nobody from my family is coming [to Sochi]," Bergeron said. "They would have thought about it a little more [if there were no security concerns]. My wife would have been there, for sure. My parents were [balking] at more the travel than it being in Russia, but my wife definitely would have come otherwise.
“Obviously my faith is there, and I haven’t heard anything that makes me feel the other way. I’ve heard that security is going to be through the roof, and all of that. I would hope our security is going to be the priority, but -- that being said -- the more you hear about it, the more you think about it more. I’m not necessarily worried about it. I’m still confident and excited about going. We’ll just see what happens.”
Czech Republic native David Krejci was a bit more concerned about the potential for terrorism at the Sochi Winter Games, and tried to talk his mother into skipping the trip to Russia. But in the end the third line center lost the argument to his mother, and she’ll be headed to Sochi.
“I told my family not to go, but my mom wants to go so I can’t stop her," Krejci said. "I would prefer if she wouldn’t go, and I understand everybody that doesn’t want their families to go. It’s kind of a scary situation. I’m pretty sure the Russian President (Vladimir Putin) is going to take care of everything, and make the Olympic Games safe.
“I’ve been reading the papers, and watching TV. I know there is lots of talk about it. I know they’re sending a lot of military people over there. It’s going to be interesting. You kind of don’t know what you’re getting into.”
Krejci said “it’s a good question” as to whether the security and safety concerns will distract the players away from focusing on the hockey competition, but Olympic officials have stressed to the athletes that the Olympic Village will be under heavy protection by Russian forces.
“If once you get there and all you see is military people everywhere, it’s going to be tough to focus [on hockey],” said Krejci. “But I’m pretty sure it’s going to be fine. All the athletes will be at the village.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien will be headed to Sochi as a member of the Team Canada coaching staff, and is still in discussions with his wife about whether she’ll be attending the tournament.
"It's still a debate," said Julien. "There is some concern just like everybody else, but there's concern like that everywhere. It's a decision we'll make later."
Similar to Krejci with his mother, the B’s bench boss would prefer that his wife stay behind given the safety issues, while she wants to attend the Winter Games.