BOSTON — For every hockey-playing kid growing up in Quebec, making it to the NHL is the dream. AJ Greer has achieved that dream and is still living it, as the 26-year-old is in the midst of the best and most consistent NHL season of his career.
Yet despite being in his sixth NHL season, the native of Joliette, Quebec had never played a professional game in Montreal’s Bell Centre.
That changed on Tuesday night, when Greer and the Boston Bruins made their first visit to Montreal of the season. In the middle of the game, he opened up about what it was like for his dream to come true.
“Yeah, definitely. It’s off the bucket list. But a very special day for me — myself, my friends, my family,” Greer told NESN’s Sophia Jurksztowicz. “I think just being able to step on that ice, that ice means a lot to me. I played here as a kid in exhibition games, I came here several times to watch the Canadiens play. I actually emptied my bank account one time, $200 to come to this game, and I didn’t even think twice, just because of how special an NHL game was to me. And I think life just comes full circle. Work hard and good things happen.”
While Greer obviously grew up in Canadiens country, he knows Boston well, having played two years at Boston University before embarking on his pro career. Although he’s still in year one with the Bruins, that experience certainly helped him gain an understanding of the Bruins and the city.
“Like you said, it’s a culture. It’s a brotherhood,” Greer said. “As soon as you step in that locker room, there’s a set of values and a respect for not only the guys around you but also for the logo, for the city, and for the hard-working people who contribute to our success in TD Garden and all over. You go see games and we’re playing on the road, there’s Bruins fans everywhere. And I think that we cherish that so much, just being able to have so many loyal fans and fans that stick with us. And I think that we have a special group this year. So it’s just an honor every day to come to the rink and be a part of this group for me.”
It was, quite obviously, a rather significant night in Greer’s life. But he made sure to recenter his focus after revisiting his past.
“So it’s a very, very special night for me, and I’m just looking to get two points and a win here,” he said.
Greer only got 7:36 of ice time, and he didn’t end up on the score sheet. But in his first NHL visit to his native Quebec, he skated off the ice victoriously.