The Boston Bruins will officially retire and raise Rick Middleton’s No. 16 to the TD Garden rafters prior to their game against the New York Islanders on Nov. 29, Bruins president Cam Neely announced Tuesday.
“It was a great honor to call Rick today and let him know that he will join the group of retired numbers in the TD Garden rafters,” said Neely. “As a player and a person Rick embodies what it means to be a Bruin, and we are excited to celebrate his career with his family, friends and our fans on November 29th.”
After spending the first two seasons of his NHL career with the New York Rangers, Middleton played 12 NHL seasons with the Bruins from 1976-88, compiling 402 goals and 496 assists for 898 points in 881 games. His 402 goals are the third-most in B’s history behind John Bucyk (545) and Phil Esposito (459). His 496 assists are sixth-most in Bruins history behind Ray Bourque (1,111), John Bucyk (794), Bobby Orr (624), Phil Esposito (553) and Wayne Cashman (516). Middleton ranks fourth on the Bruins’ all-time scoring list with 898 points, behind Ray Bourque (1,506), John Bucyk (1,339) and Phil Esposito (1,012).
Just in case you're wondering why they called him Nifty. pic.twitter.com/qEzaLcyMbn— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) July 31, 2018
Middleton’s No. 16 will be the 11th number officially retired by the Bruins. Middleton joins a group including Lionel Hitchman’s No. 3, Dit Clapper’s No. 5, Eddie Shore and his No. 2, Milt Schmidt’s No. 15, No. 4 Bobby Orr, Johnny Bucyk’s No. 9, No. 7 Phil Esposito, Ray Bourque’s No. 77, Terry O’Reilly’s No. 24, and Neely’s No. 8.
Eight players wore No. 16 upon Middleton’s departure from the Bruins, with Jozef Stumpel (1996-2003) and Marco Sturm (2005-2010) among the notables to wear it. Kasper Daugavins (2013) was the last player to officially wear No. 16 for the Bruins, though Ville Leino donned the number during his brief professional tryout with the Bruins during the 2014 NHL preseason.
“Mr. Middleton’s number 16 has long deserved to be raised to TD Garden’s rafters,” Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs said. “I look forward to participating in the events on November 29th as it will be a very special evening for Mr. Middleton and the entire Bruins organization.”
The ceremony will be the first retired number celebration since Neely’s No. 8 was raised to the rafters in 2004.