Very few players in professional sports ever epitomise a franchise over time. Many struggle to symbolize an era, much less the entirety of a team’s existence.
In Boston, “the ultimate Bruin” passed away before a recent loss to the Edmonton Oilers and the team made sure to celebrate the life of one of their most important players.
The club held “a moment of celebration and applause” for Milt Schmidt in lieu of the normal treatment of a moment of silence. He was a captain, a coach and a general manager during his time with the team.
He literally gave his life to the organization and went into the Hall of Fame as the oldest living former NHL player.
A voice boomed over the public address system before the game: “Milton Conrad Schmidt arrived here on Causeway Street in 1936. And, in many ways, he never left. Milt Schmidt embodied everything we know about being a Boston Bruin.”
Most people won’t enjoy such a eulogy, but to the fans of this organisation, he was worth all of the adulation and more.
Schmidt’s number was painted on the ice behind the nets as a subtle reminder of his contributions to the club.
If the rousing applause was any indication, the reminder wasn’t really necessary.