(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By: Mike Sullivan | Follow Me On Twitter @_MikeSullivan

When you think of Patrice Bergeron, many terms of endearment come to mind. Trustworthy, honorable, selfless, respected, reliable, relentless, and most of all, his ability to be a role model.

The Boston Bruins selected Patrice Bergeron 45th overall in the second round of the 2003 NHL entry draft. Since then, he has led the Boston Bruins to three Stanley Cup appearances, with one Stanley Cup championship coming in the 2010-2011 season that will forever go down as one of the most entertaining playoff runs in Boston Bruins history. The Quebec native has amassed five Selke Trophies during his reign in the NHL and has been touted as one of, if not the, greatest two-way forwards in the 105-year history of the National Hockey League.

Patrice Bergeron reached 1,000 career points in his most recent milestone, all with the Boston Bruins. He joins only three other members in Bruins history to reach 1,000 points. The three being Ray Bourque, Johnny Bucyk, and Phil Esposito. Three members of the team have gone down as legends in the city of Boston. Patrice Bergeron is rightfully right alongside them.

His leadership doesn’t stop with his on-ice play. He leads by example off the ice as well. When it came time for a contract extension, it was reported that Montreal had offered him $9.5 million per year, a salary that most players couldn’t refuse. Patrice being Patrice, humbly declined it, citing that if he had signed that contract, he would never win a Stanley Cup. Ultimately, he signed an eight-year, $6.5 million contract with the Boston Bruins, being severely underpaid for what he brings to the table. He sacrificed dollars for success, and others followed in his footsteps—Brad Marchand, for one signing an eight-year deal worth $6.125 million. Marchand was quoted as saying he can’t make more than Bergeron.

With the Bruins hard-pressed against the cap, Patrice Bergeron signed a one-year deal worth $2.5 million to stay with the team for what feels like “The Last Dance” for this group of guys.

Patrice Bergeron has also been heavily involved in the community of Boston and New England as a whole. During Bergeron’s reign in Boston, he began a foundation named “Patrice’s Pals,” where local patients in children’s hospitals are chosen to be treated to a Boston Bruins home game as VIPs, experiencing Bruins games firsthand and being treated as honorary guests to the Bruins at TD Garden. His investment in the community doesn’t go unnoticed.

To date, Patrice has treated children with mental and physical disabilities to games from Children’s Hospital, Boston, the Cam Neely Foundation, Franciscan Hospital for Children, Joslin Diabetes Center, Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Big Brother and Big Sister of Massachusetts Bay, Oak Square YMCA, Shriners Hospital, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, and countless more.

Patrice has been a foundational piece to the community of Boston for almost two decades. From taking charge of the team as Captain to making personal financial sacrifices in the name of success to dedicated work in the community, Patrice Bergeron has been nothing less than an exemplary leader and a blueprint of success to his younger counterparts on the team.

It’s nearly impossible to sum up, Patrice Bergeon’s career in an article, let alone a few words, but to define him with a single term is respect. He gives respect, leads with respect, and is respected throughout the league.

The Boston Bruins are more than blessed to have a man like Patrice Bergeron wear black and gold.