By Kirk Luedeke
The highlight of Scott Bradley’s nearly 20 years with the Boston Bruins as scout and player personnel director was the 2011 Stanley Cup championship. However, Bradley’s ties to the organization run much deeper than his own service and contributions in building a winner.
Bradley’s late father, Bart, played one game for the
Bruins in 1950, and was a longtime scout who taught his son the ins
and outs of the game and talent evaluation. The elder Bradley had
his hand in many successes over the years, but it was his
recommendation to then-GM Harry Sinden to acquire Cam Neely from
Vancouver in 1986 that may be the most famous.
Scott grew up around the team, and although Bart Bradley passed away in 2006, he got to see his son follow in his footsteps with the Bruins. The younger Bradley rose to the position of chief amateur scout in 1996-97 after breaking into the organization as a full-time scout just three years earlier.
Scott Bradley’s 2006-07 was not yet under way when he noticed a lump on his knee, about the size of a quarter. After being advised by the trainer to undergo the full medical testing with the Boston players, a biopsy was taken from the growth. Bradley soon got the devastating news from team physician Dr. Bert Zarins that the lump was a malignant sarcoma.
With time being of the essence, Charlie Jacobs and Sinden acted quickly to assemble a team of doctors to assess Bradley’s cancer. With the Bruins assuming the medical costs upfront, an operation was quickly scheduled and the sarcoma successfully removed in Boston in late September. The eight-hour operation required extensive evacuation of the right knee, resulting in nearly a month in which Bradley was immobilized.
Bradley returned home to Vancouver to convalesce and by mid-November was back to work, scouting players and traveling as much as his doctors would allow. By the time Christmas rolled around, Bradley was scouting the Viking Cup and World Junior Championship tournaments while preparing to run the Bruins table at the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
In 2008, Bradley had a recurrence of cancer in the right knee. This time, he had major surgery to remove the sarcoma and also required the removal of muscle and tissue in his left leg to rebuild what was taken out of the right. After missing about a month or so recovering from the second procedure, Bradley was cancer-free and returned to work to scout and prepare the team for the 2009 draft.
“I can’t say enough about the Jacobs family, Harry Sinden and the Boston Bruins organization,” Bradley said recently as he prepared for his 19th training camp with the team. “Without them, I wouldn’t be talking about this today and I would not have been here to see the Stanley Cup victory.”
Given what Bradley has done to help build the organization he loves, it’s safe to say that without his contributions, the 2011 championship season may not have been possible.
This article originally appeared in the October 2011 issue of New England Hockey Journal. Kirk Luedeke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org