BOSTON — “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” Methuen junior Brady Barron said last night just before he stepped onto the ice at the TD Garden for last night’s game.
Barron, 16, and Janielle Monbleau, a critical care nurse at Lowell General Hospital and an athletic trainer, dropped the ceremonial first puck before the Bruins game against the Ottawa Senators, standing next to Bruins captain Zdeno Chara and Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson.
They each dropped a puck, and the captains gave them back as souvenirs and shook their hands.
And the Bruins treated them and their families like royalty, giving Barron and Monbleau jerseys with their names on them and setting them up in corner seats for the game.
Barron, wearing number 15, the same number he wears for Methuen, said he couldn’t believe he was invited.
“When they called, I couldn’t even be happy, I was shocked,” he said. “But it didn’t take long to be excited.”
Originally, the Bruins invited them for a Saturday game on Feb. 9 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. But the weather had other plans — the blizzard blanketed the region, ground travel to a halt and most importantly, postponed the game.
“It was awful,” he said of the wait.
But the wait may have set up a better game to see live, with the Bruins taking on division rival Ottawa, who was tied with Boston for second place in the Eastern Conference Northeast Division. The Bruins moved into sole possession of second place behind Montreal with the win in overtime last night.
Monbleau, whose maiden name is Martin and who married a month ago, said as an athletic trainer and an athlete in high school, she is a fan of all sports, even though football may edge out hockey.
“I was shocked as he was,” she said. “I was at lunch at work when I got the call. Then I ran out and said, ‘The Bruins just called!’”
Monbleau, whose new jersey bore number 13, brought her husband, Kirk, to the game. Barron brought his parents, sisters and girlfriend.
After the game, Barron looked forward to meeting center Brad Marchand, his favorite player.
On Jan. 14, Barron, a forward on Methuen’s varsity hockey team, suffered a life-threatening injury when he collided with a Gloucester player on the ice. The Gloucester player’s skate sliced Barron’s wrist, severing 12 tendons and an artery.
Monbleau, formerly a full-time athletic trainer at Methuen High School, rushed onto the ice from next to the Methuen bench before the play was blown dead. Barron was rushed to Children’s Hospital in Boston, where doctors said quick action by Monbleau, trainer Al Delano and the Fire Department’s emergency medical staff saved his life.
Surgeons reattached the tendons and laid the nerves together to heal. Barron was fitted with a cast that kept his wrist bent while the tendons knitted. On Feb. 11, the cast was removed and replaced with a brace.
He is able to move his hand and fingers, though movement is slow and weak, said his father, Scott Barron. Brady does occupational therapy three times a week to rebuild strength in his hand. He is expected to fully recover after several months.
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