Patrice Bergeron on the importance of reaching out
*This article was published November 2017
NHLPA member and Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron talks about the importance of reaching out and how young people can deal with bullying.
As a professional athlete skating on hockey’s biggest stage, Boston Bruins alternate captain Patrice Bergeron has always believed in speaking up and reaching out. “We’re fortunate to be in a position to be able to do something,” he noted.
In 2003-04, as an NHL rookie, Bergeron gained more confidence in himself through conversations he had with leaders on the team.
This also taught him the importance of paying it forward — something he continues to do now. Through the Patrice’s Pals program, Bergeron has distinguished himself as a leader and role model for youth. The program brings young people and their families from local hospitals and other children’s organizations to enjoy a Bruins home game and speak with Bergeron.
When Bergeron met a young person who was being bullied at school, he wanted the opportunity to talk to him. “He was going through a tough time with bullying and I just wanted to be there for him. I also wanted to give him some confidence, to make him know that he’s a great kid and people are there for him. I wanted him to realize that there are good things to come and he did the right thing by speaking up,” said Bergeron.
For Bergeron, this is an important message to any young person who’s dealing with a problem, big or small. Here is what else Bergeron had to say about bullying:
- Speak out: “When you’re going through a tough time in your life, it affects your confidence and sometimes, you don’t feel like speaking about it,” said Bergeron. “But it can snowball into something bigger. Speaking about it can make a world of difference.”
- Stay positive: “We have some new players on our team, young guys who haven’t played very long in the NHL,” noted Bergeron. “It’s important to be there for them. Sometimes, not everything will go the way you expected. But it’s important to stay positive — things will turn around.”
- Ask for help: “Sometimes you don’t want to share things with those you are closest to — your parents, your siblings or your friends. I think having someone to hear you out, someone who is there for you and understands what you’re going through — that’s very important. It’s not easy to talk and ask for support, but people are always there to help you,” said Bergeron.
Patrice Bergeron believes it’s important to reach out with whatever you’re going through. If you’re dealing with bullying or any other issue, you can talk to a parent/caregiver, teacher or other safe adult. You can also contact a Kids Help Phone counsellor 24/7 at 1-800-668-6868.
Kids Help Phone would like to thank Patrice Bergeron, the NHLPA and Chris Lomon for this story during Bullying Awareness Week 2017!