BOSTON -- The Bruins had practice on Monday, but before they took the ice they hit the aisles for an annual tradition that no player would ever miss.
The entire Bruins team did a little holiday shopping at Target in Watertown on Monday morning, but these gifts will not be under their respective trees. These gifts will be given to children in local hospitals who won't be able to celebrate the holidays at home.
The shopping began bright and early at 7 a.m., but nobody was scared away by the early start time. Everyone knows that this small investment of time will mean the world to these kids in a few short weeks.
"It's great. It means a lot to all of us," said Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron. "A bunch of us have kids and we all know how special Christmas is. It's important to get involved and give back to the community. It's something as an organization that we take a lot of pride in.
"It's always special to come here and take an hour of your day and know it goes a long way," Bergeron added. "It's going to bring a lot of joy to a lot of kids who are in need and don't get to spend Christmas at home. It's special for us to be here and it's easy to do."
The Bruins players give much more than their time during their annual shopping spree. All the toys and goodies purchased were done so through donations from the Bruins players and the Boston Bruins Foundation.
Bergeron, a father of three, has participated in this incredible event for years. He used his own kids as inspiration to fill his cart on Monday.
"I had a different range of kids, from infants to five years old, and I've been there before so it was easier to pick out the toys that my kids have enjoyed over the years," he explained. "It's been fun."
And all that fun was on full display Monday. Every player had a smile on their face as they walked through the doors at Target and grabbed a shopping cart.
Forward Jake DeBrusk got stuck with one of those noisy shopping carts, but didn't seem to mind...
... while Connor Clifton used his like it was an NHL defender and shoved David Krejci's cart out of his way.
Nick Foligno probably would have been better off with a second cart, but he made it to the register without his haul falling over. That's a true veteran at work right here:
And while most of the carts were filled up with toy cars, dolls, board games, and some sporting equipment, goaltender Jeremy Swayman made sure that his kid got plenty of Bruins swag:
Players absolutely love going shopping for kids each year, but it isn't the best part of the event. That will come in a few weeks when the goodies are hand delivered.
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