By 2006, Brad Marchand was drafted to play for New England’s beloved Boston Bruins. Between then and now, he has won a Stanley Cup, World Championship gold and the World Cup gold. A left winger, a proud father and a classy drinker, University of New Hampshire’s (UNH) Student Committee On Popular Entertainment (SCOPE) welcomed Marchand to a live Q&A Monday evening.
SCOPE members James Matias and Megan Hurd led the Q&A with itching questions from UNH students that had joined the Zoom link to the interview. Students asked questions that ranged from Marchand’s best advice all the way to playoff season. Even with thousands of questions rolling in, Matias and Hurd were still able to let students be heard and make sure Marchand was comfortable.
Marchand made it abundantly clear throughout the Q&A how much he values his teammates. He talked about his own line, saying that they work well together and are a “good lineup, no doubt.” This year there are new players acquired at the deadline Marchand has gotten to know.
“They’re great. They bring a lot of depth that we needed. They’re all great guys off the ice… We’re lucky to have them,” Marchand said. They appear to fit in very well, despite the pressure
of being new players on the team. Hurd added how important it is to have good connections with your teammates on and off the ice and Marchand agreed. “I think that’s a thing our team does a really good job of, and we know that. [Coaches] care more about their character in the room and who they are off the ice than what they bring on the ice– that’s secondary,” Marchand said.
He and his team take a lot of pride in their dynamics off the ice. Their ability to be good people allows the team to be closer and build good work ethics that evidently creates a strong dynamic.
What happens behind the scenes, though? Hurd asked Marchand what his game day rituals are. “I eat fish and sweet potatoes and broccoli on game day. I like to sleep for like 45 minutes to an hour in the afternoon and have a coffee from the same place. Typical stuff. You can’t be consistent all the time. There are too many variables,” Marchand responded. The 32-year-old described himself as “simple.”Students however, comment saying that he’s “elite” and even “filthy”– in the best way possible.
Matias dove deeper into some of the ways Marchand celebrates any wins, specifically when the Bruins won the World Cup in 2011. “That whole summer was a blur,” Marchand said. The Bruins partied every night in the heart of Boston. However, paparazzi were eager to sneak photos and release them to the media, which was not great publicity for the team. “We were doing what any 21, 22 year-old would do if they won a trophy,” Marchand said. If they win again, Marchand believes they will go on a trip instead to avoid bad publicity.
Bouncing from bar to bar in Boston, Marchand told Matias that he’s a classy drinker, typically ordering root beer with Captain Morgan. “Otherwise I’ll go Captain straight up or Captain and Coke… I like Captain though. It goes down easy,” Marchand said. He gets quite a bit of attention when he goes to the bar as well, but his wife, Katrina, doesn’t like the attention he gets when he’s out.
The Q&A got more casual, with Matias and Hurd laughing with Marchand, making the interview more like a conversation. They joked about dressing nicely only waist up while on Zoom calls, wearing sweatpants or as Matias added, “no pants.” Marchand wore a grey button up shirt, but admitted he was rocking sweatpants out of the camera’s view.
Marchand’s love for the game started when he was only two years old. His inspiration? His dad, who also had a passion for the sport. Growing up in Canada, people didn’t play football or basketball, but rather hockey and baseball. Marchand was able to skate on the ice almost every day, helping him land a spot with the Bruins today.
Students wondered if Marchand expects his children to play hockey. He said that they can do what they want and he doesn’t care if they don’t want to play. He added that they like to do art above all things in their free time and that is something he is going to continuously support.
Even though he’s loved the sport since he was two, there will come a time he retires as a Bruin. “I don’t want to play if I’m not that good anymore and shouldn’t be playing… I wouldn’t be happy,” Marchand said. He does hope that’s not for a long time though.
A student asked what other sport would Marchand play if he didn’t play hockey. He said it simply: baseball. “Those guys don’t do anything and they make bank,” Marchand said. He also mentioned golf, where he would be able to be in nice weather all day, versus the cold rink he spends most of his days.
The hockey star is talented without a doubt, but there are still times he struggles to stay composed. Playoffs are particularly stressful.
“You get pulled into a million directions– you don’t see any family. You don’t see any friends,” Marchand said.
The most pressure he’s ever felt was in Game 7 against Vancouver. “I remember walking down to breakfast and nobody said a word. You could feel the tension everyone had,” Marchand said. There is a certain pressure Marchand feels that comes from an entire city of fans counting on him. It helps if he keeps in contact with his closest people and makes sure to turn his phone off at night. Nonetheless, Marchand is an excellent player who exceeds in holding his head high on the ice.
The people he stays closest to are his family. However, being a celebrity in the center of a city makes it difficult to have a private life with them. As a younger player, he was able to take in and enjoy life as a celebrity. Being an older player with a family like Marchand, it’s very difficult to enjoy overwhelming attention every time he is out in public.
“It takes away from the enjoyment you want to experience with your kids,” Marchand said. He told the story of a time he went to a fair with his children and how they had to leave because he was getting swarmed.
“My kids couldn’t even go on a ride, we couldn’t play a game or throw darts at the balloons,” Marchand said. Even though that kind of lifestyle is overwhelming, Marchand wouldn’t trade it for anything. “I’ll never be upset about that, but it is just unfortunate that I would like to experience a fair with my kids and not have to leave,” Marchand said.
Matias asked Marchand’s opinion on the infamous Tom Wilson of the Washington Capitals. “I like Tom as a player, I really do. I wish he was on our team. He’s really effective, he plays really hard. If he was on our team everyone in Boston would love him… but we don’t like him because obviously he hit Carlo hard there and hurt him,” Marchand said.
Matias and Hurd started the live portion of the Q&A, where questions were allowed to roll in as the conversation went on. One question asked what the story is behind the number on Marchand’s jersey.
“I was drafted in ‘06 in the third round. At that time, in those years they would give you the year you were drafted as the first number and then the round you were drafted as the second number. I was drafted in ‘06 in the third round so 63,” Marchand said. \
Students were also curious about Marchand’s relationship with Tyler Seguin. Marchand said he doesn’t see him and hasn’t seen him in a long time. When you’re on the same team, it’s easy to be close, but after Marchand was drafted for the Bruins, their friendship was much less close. Despite the distance, they will occasionally meet up in Dallas, TX. Marchand reiterates that they had “fun times together.”
Fun with friends is cherished, however, Marchand has even more fun being competitive. His favorite team to play against is Toronto– mostly because the Bruins have played them the most during playoff season in the past few years. It builds rivalry and makes for a fast and competitive game that everyone can enjoy.
“I am not qualified for anything outside of hockey,” Marchand said as the Q&A wrapped up. Despite being a hockey star now, Marchand knows one day he will need to retire and have another purpose. Something like real estate catches his eye, but Marchand is still on the search to find a new passion. “You might as well find something you do and you love. That’s a big reason that we got into it too,” Marchand said.
Marchand has proved himself to be an easygoing and dedicated player. SCOPE wrapped up the Q&A and wished Marchand all the best of luck in his game the following day against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Photo courtesy of the NHL.