“Everything about my time in Boston was tremendous, “From the way the team accepted me to the way I was embraced by the city, everything was great. When you play the role that I play, it’s pretty rare to be able to do it for seven years in one place. It’s really not that common anymore and I appreciate that fact. I’ve always said that Boston is now home, and it is. I’ll be back here. No question about it.” ~Shawn Thornton
When Shawn Thornton signed a three year deal with the Boston Bruins back in 2007, the consensus amongst most people was he was being brought in to serve the role as a part time enforcer. Seven seasons later and I think it’s safe to say he exceeded the low expectations placed upon him.
Boston is one of the best sports towns in America and a large part is due to the passion and connection our teams have with their fans. Bruins fans have always gravitated towards a physical and gritty style of hockey; two adjectives that sum up Shawn Thornton perfectly. Although Thornton’s game was never one that always ended up on the score sheet, throughout his years there were so many moments where his impact on the team was as clear as day.
A lot of reporters consider Thornton’s finest moment in a Bruins uniform to be the 19 second shift in game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Canucks where a massive hit on Alex Burrows brought the Garden alive and injected life into the Bruins.
As much as I enjoyed seeing Thornton make an impact on the ice, it was his dedication to charity and community that left a lasting impression on the city of Boston. Since joining the Bruins, Thornton created a foundation in his name to help those battling Parkinson’s and other types of cancer as well. Thornton has received awards for community service from the Bruins and other organizations as well.
When the tragic events of last year’s Boston Marathon occurred, Thornton made it a point to make himself as accessible as possible to the victims impacted in an attempt to boost their morale even if it was only for a moment. That’s what made Thornton’s time here so special; his actions weren’t predetermined, they were genuine and heartfelt. Thornton didn’t just play for the Bruins, he was a citizen of our city and represented us with every shift on the ice and every time he touched a life off of it. It was something you could tell by the way he spoke about Boston in the wake of one of our darkest hours.
Thornton has made it clear he will be remaining in Boston after his playing career is over and I’m sure he will continue leaving an impact on the city he has grown to love and the city that views him as one of Boston’s finest.