Boston Bruins: Shawn Thornton gives a big good bye gift to Boston.


April 17, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins right wing

Shawn Thornton

(22) skates at center ice during the first period against the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Shawn Thornton is one of those players who has left his mark on the fabric of Boston sports. For the last seven years, Thornton made his presence known as part of the best fourth line in hockey. While he is most recognized for his contributions he made on the ice, the former Bruins enforcer is equally well known in the realm of charitable work and philanthropy.

Over the last few years, the Shawn Thornton Foundation went from nothing more than idea to an organization that donates hundreds of thousands of dollars to organizations dedicated to fighting Parkinson’s disease and cancer. Thornton was able to propel the organization’s profile by being a player that enjoyed going to small events and mingling with the fan base. You could see him at minor league baseballs games, charity events, and he always had a smile on his face. He was a player who actually walked to the TD Garden during some home games.

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Sadly, the Boston Bruins chose to part waves with Shawn Thornton at the end of last season.  The B’s were looking to move away from having an in-house pugilist on the roster. The hockey gods may have taken Thornton out of Boston, but you can’t get the Beantown out of Thornton.  The ex-Bruin (I just don’t have the heart to call him a Florida Panther just yet.) made one more incredible gesture to the city that was his home for the better part of the last decade.

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  • On Wednesday, the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon was held to support the Jimmy Fund and the Dana-Farber cancer research center.  Thornton stopped by and found yet another reason to show why the city and the fan base love him. Thornton, on behalf of his foundation donated $50,000 to the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber.

    While Thornton made his presence on the ice with his fists, he made the biggest presence of all with his spirit. Farewell #22, who ever ends up with your number has some big skates (and mitts) to fill.