By: Gayle Troiani | Follow me on Twitter @LadyBruinsFan
The Boston Bruins Alumni have been around for more than 50 years, and each of the players on the roster has either skated in at least one game for the Boston Bruins, the Providence Bruins, or they have been made an honorary member. There are more than 40 players that are involved with the Alumni, but only one serves as President, and that honor currently belongs to former defenseman Frank Simonetti.
Simonetti, who played for the Bruins from 1984 to 1988, was elected by his fellow alumni this past March after Rick Middleton announced he would be stepping away from the role after 15 years. Middleton handed the reigns over to Simonetti at the turn of the calendar year.
“It meant a lot,” Simonetti said about being elected. “It means the guys respect me and the effort I’ve put into representing the Bruins Alumni over the years. It’s really an honor to be nominated for it and to be elected by our alumni members.”
Simonetti added that Middleton had done a great job getting the alumni out in the community during his tenure as President, and he wants to continue the tradition by adding new events and keeping the Alumni prominent in the community.
“I’m looking forward to not breaking what isn’t broken,” Simonetti said. “I look forward to continuing the legacy that he created and expanding our reach electronically through our Alumni TV Network, through some of our social media platforms, and trying to get the message out that the Alumni are here to help across New England.”
The annual Nathan Hardy Memorial and Light Foundation All-Star games are just two of the events the Alumni hosts that tend to draw big crowds; another is Bowl with a Bruin. The event, created by Simonetti, is entering its eighth year and will be held this coming September.
“Bowl with a Bruins has been a great success in raising money for the Pan Mass Challenge, Warrior for Life, and the Fisher House,” Simonetti explained. “One of the strong points of the Bowl with a Bruin event is we’ve had Donny Marcotte, Johnny Bucyk, and Eddie Sanford, who is turning 94 years old, come year over year.
“One year, we had five captains, Eddie Sanford, John Bucyk, Terry O’Reilly, Rick Middleton, and Ray Bourque. That’s the only time those five have been photographed together. So I would love it if we could get those five plus Zdeno Chara there this coming fall. He doesn’t know it yet, but I’m going to ask him if he can come.”
Simonetti said he plans on looking into other events of the ice that more alumni can attend to help awareness and money that can benefit the Bruins Foundation through the Bruins Alumni and more charities.
“There might be a cigar night or a wine tasting,” Simonetti said. “I’m thinking maybe a clambake or a crawfish boil, things that people haven’t done, and tying them to charities that we can help ourselves and help different organizations raise money through food which is always a good thing.”
The Bruins Alumni held a Fantasy Camp at Fenway Park on January 4, and there were two notable newcomers on the ice that day, Chara and Tuukka Rask.
“The other fun thing about taking over this year is we’ve had Tuukka Rask recently retire, Z has retired, and Z has already played a few games with us. So we are working on getting Tuukka out,” Simonetti explained. “Tuukka skated with us for the first time as an alumni member, and he had a great time. So we’re trying to work him into the line-up. He’s pretty busy with what he’s doing with the Bruins.”
As current Bruins players retire in the coming years, Simonetti is hopeful to have them join the Alumni and attend events with the players that wore the Spoked-B before them.
“We’d like to integrate them into the alumni, even if it’s once or twice a year like the big game we did with Kevan Miller coming back for the Warrior for Life game.
“He made it a point to travel across the country to help the cause, and it was a big get for us. It was a big get for the charities, and it was a big get for the fans. I mean, everybody wins when some of the heroes come out to play. We’re happy to lace them up with the guys we watched and didn’t get to play with. It’s really cool for us to be a part of that.”
The Boston Bruins Alumni will be playing at Skate 3 in Tyngsboro Sunday at 2:30 PM to benefit the Tom Smith Foundation. The schedule for future games can be found on their website, along with information on requesting a game or making a donation.