BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Bruins got some holiday shopping done Monday after practice, but it wasn’t for their friends and families.
The entire Bruins squad took a trip to Target in Woburn for their annual toy shopping event to buy toys that will be given as gifts to children who are unable to celebrate the holidays at home.
“It’s great. Christmas for me is the best time of the year,” said Patrice Bergeron, who is in charge of the event for the third straight year. “Just being able to come here and shop for kids, and then delivering it later on next week, it’s very special for me and all of us. that’s why we’re here.”
“It’s a big one for us,” forward Shawn Thornton said of the event. “We put our own money in; we come do this every year. It doesn’t take much time out of our schedule and we like to be able to give back.”
Each player, with a Santa hat atop their head, was given a shopping list from the hospitals receiving the donations. The Bruins players donate their own money, with the organization matching every dollar raised.
Tyler Seguin said he did pretty good at filling out the list this year.
“I have almost everything. I have from infants to 17-year old teens. So not too much younger than me,” the 19-year-old Seguin said. “They can relate to me a bit and I can get them something I want.”
He may have even found a gift for himself in the process.
“There this little basketball hoop, but I wouldn’t actually use it for basketball. I want something where I can throw my laundry in, so I might come back and get one for myself as well,’ he said.
But the event does not stop with the shopping. The Bruins will deliver the gifts themsevlves on December 20.
“We take the gifts in right before Christmas; we visit all the hospitals and deliver them,” said Thornton. “We deliver them and watch the kids open them sometimes. Sometimes they like to wait until we’re gone.”
Bruins Hall of Famer Ray Bourque started the toy shopping and delivery tradition when he was captain, and defenseman Hal Gill and forward P.J. Axelsson continued the efforts. Now it is up to Bergeron to make sure his teammates make it, but he doesn’t have to worry about that.
“Everyone showed up. It speaks to how committed we are towards the community,” he said.
Children’s Hospital Boston, MassGeneral Hospital for Children, Shriners Hospital for Children, Boston Medical Center, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Franciscan Hospital for Children and Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center will be the recipients of the Boston Bruins’ generosity.