The regular season is just a few games from announcing it’s end and an early trip to the golf links for 14 of the teams. In Boston, what this time means, is the fund raiser, now in it’s eighth year, where the Boston Bruins players get their heads shaved to raise money for cancer, especially for kids with cancer.
For some of the players, like Milan Lucic, this was his eighth event—he is the only player who has been involved each year. A couple of players usually prefer to donate money—last year Shawn Thornton got Tuukka Rask to donate $5000 to keep his hair. However, with Thornton moving on, the mantle of this season’s event fell on Patrice Bergeron, who was able to get all of the players to agree to sit in the chair and let the highest bidders shave their heads.
How did he accomplish this? Well in a Bruins Feature video, Bergeron indicated that he tried the “nice” approach, rather than the intimidating approach his predecessor had employed. However, in episode 11 of Behind the B, one method Bergeron employed was the “you’re a rookie, you have to do it” approach—which saw Ryan Spooner and David Pastrnak with no opportunity to opt out. And during the event itself, a couple of players indicated that Bergeron employed the “peer pressure” approach.
Regardless of how Bergeron did it, the whole group was there for the event, including Zach Trotman who was just recalled as a result of the injury to Dougie Hamilton this weekend. And there was plenty of joking, an occasional wager and lots of chatter from Brad Marchand.
This is a great event with a VIP hour where those who are lucky enough to purchase a VIP ticket before they sell out (as they do every year) get a chance to interact with the players, get pictures and autographs. Those photos that get taken are “before” photos when the players still have their hair.
And then the real fun begins as the players come out in groups of four to have their heads shaved by their highest bidders. Many of those doing the shaving are children who have been fighting the cancers that the funds raised from the event go to help find a cure.
It also puts into perspective who the true warriors are. So many of the players comment on how happy they are to be involved and what an honor it is to participate. They point out how the kids they meet at this and other events—those fighting cancer on a daily basis—are the true heroes. The players appreciate this opportunity to put a smile on the faces of those children.
Even the rookies had fun.
“I enjoyed it and had a lot of fun,” said Pastrnak after the event. “I always like to support a good thing like this one.”
This year, the players may also be happy to put aside the hockey for a bit, given how their season has been going. Having a chance to joke with and get to know the fans and have a day to kid each other—and there was plenty of that—while raising money for a good cause is definitely a double-win situation.
Pastrnak did admit that his new look was not his style, but since everyone else looks like he does, he was okay with it. Lucic mentioned that it was the Cuts for a Cause that increased his cap collection. And many of the players were seen tugging their tuques on or putting a well-worn cap on almost immediately after exiting the stage.
Spooner was wearing a cap as he signed autographs and took pictures before climbing onto the stage and that cap was right back on his head when he agreed to answer a few questions. He took the event in good nature, joking that the hat would remain on his head—coming off only when his helmet went on. But he admitted that he used to get his head shaved for the summers when he was a teen, so it wasn’t as traumatic for him as it appeared to be for some of the players.
Spooner also admitted that such “all in” team responses like this do have a bonding affect on the team, acknowledging that they have struggled of late. And perhaps showing up in the locker room Wednesday morning and looking around at each other’s similar coifs will draw them even closer together, though this is definitely a tightly knit group.
The timing of this event does speak to that final bonding phase that corresponds with the final push to the post season. But Tuesday night it was all about raising funds to fight a terrible disease. And raise funds they did. The final total was an impressive $130,027.02.
The previous seven years saw this event raise a combined total of $360,000. Adding in this year’s funds and this even has brought almost a half million dollars to the fight against cancer. And that deserves stick taps for the team and the fans who contribute every year!
You can see a gallery of photos from the event here.