By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Westborough – Colin Barr, a 9-year-old student at Armstrong Elementary School, was excited to go to the Boston Bruins versus Buffalo Sabres game in Boston April 12 with his father, John. His excitement, however, grew by leaps and bounds in the first period and not just because his favorite team was playing well after a mini-slump. Instead, it was because he found he was going to be taking home a coveted souvenir – a jersey of from one of the players that would be literally right off the player's back.
Each year the Bruins host a “Shirts off our Backs” event at the conclusion of the last regular season home game. Lucky fans are randomly chosen to go onto the ice after the game where they are given a large envelope with a player's name inside. They are not allowed to open the envelope until the announcer gives them the OK. The player then comes over to the fan, takes off his shirt, and hands it over.
Not only was Colin chosen for this honor, he also got the name of one of the most popular B's – Assistant Captain Patrice Bergeron.
The day, Colin recounted, was one he will never forget.
“I was just sitting there in my seat, relaxing,” he said,” and then they called my seat number. Everyone [around him] was saying that it was me. I was freaking out!”
Colin and his dad were instructed to go to guest services near the end of the third period and then were escorted onto the ice with the fans.
Unfortunately Bergeron was not able to participate in the ceremony due to an injury suffered in the game. So instead, Captain Zdeno Chara handed Colin Bergeron's shirt and posed for a photo with him.
Colin noted that although he was a bit disappointed to not be able to meet Bergeron, meeting Chara was “awesome.”
“He's so tall!” he said of the 6″9″ defenseman.
“Chara apologized that Patrice couldn's be there,” John said. “He could not have been nicer.”
John said the family will eventually frame the shirt, which came with a certificate of authenticity, especially “now that it has aired out a bit.”
“It's not quite as heavy as it was when we first got it,” he laughed.
Colin, in turn, wrote a note to Bergeron letting him know of his delight in winning his shirt.
“I's sorry you got hurt and [that] I didn's get to meet you,” he added in the note. “I hope you'se feeling better.”
Colin is also hoping for another reason to celebrate later this spring.
“I went to the parade [in 2011] when they won the Stanley Cup,” he said. “I hope we can do that again this year. I love the Bruins – they are the best!”