Bruins to Retire Rick Middleton’s Jersey
Boston, MA - The Boston Bruins organization announced, via Cam Neely, that famous Bruin Rick Middleton’s jersey number, sixteen, will be retired by the team on November 29 against the New York Islanders. Neely cited Middleton’s playing career and off the rink persona as an embodiment for what it means to be a Bruin and reason enough for the number sixteen to be the eleventh jersey retired by the Bruins in the TD Garden.
Jerseys are often retired when a player or member of the organization is so closely tied to the team and the identity that it is impossible to imagine any other player donning a jersey featuring the same number. (Think about what it would be like if a Celtic wore thirty-three or a Red Sox put on a jersey with a nine on the back or a Patriots quarterback trotted out onto Gillette Stadium with the number twelve on his back.
It wouldn’t be right.) Middleton absolutely earned this achievement thanks to the 898 points he racked up (including 402 goals) in fewer games than that (881)! These numbers came in the twelve seasons he played for the Bruins during the 1970s and 1980s, where he ranks fourth on the all-time scoring list for the Boston franchise. (The winger is also sixth all-time in assists for the Bruins.)
Middleton twice passed the mark of scoring one hundred points in a season, en route to leading the team in scoring for four consecutive seasons and in goals for six consecutive seasons. His best season, though, came in the 1981-82 campaign when he scored fifty-one goals; he was also named an All-Star during this season. Even more than his immense talent on skates, Middleton embodied the objectives of being a Bruin when he was named the recipient of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy that season for sportsmanship.
Middleton joins Neely, Bobby Orr, Ray Bourque, Phil Esposito, Terry O’Reilly, John Bucyk, Milton Schmidt, Eddie Shore, Lionel Hitchman, and Aubrey Clapper as the Bruins immortalized in the Garden and November 29 will undoubtedly be a special date for all involved in the ceremony.