Chris Bourque’s retirement from the jersey with the Hershey Bears included shout-outs from Jay Beagle and Mathieu Perrault

Hershey Bears retired Chris Burke 17 on January 14, 2023, previous to its recreation towards the Springfield Thunderbirds. The Bears would go on to win later that night time 6-2 after getting objectives from high prospects Hendrix Lapierre and Conor McMichael.

The Hershey’s Bears went out to have a good time Burke that night time, Give all followers small banners After they entered the Big Middle and held a 30-minute touching pre-game get together that included the whole Bourque household.

“The perfect years of my life had been enjoying in Hershey,” Burky mentioned. “I’ve had many nights in Hershey that might be with me endlessly. Tonight is a type of nights.”

Through the ceremony, Burke obtained video shout-outs from a gaggle of former Bears and Capitals teammates together with Jay Beagle, Mathieu Perreault, Keith Aucoin, Alexandre Giroux, Andrew Gordon, Eric Fehr, and Karl Alzner.

Beagle, who recorded his congratulations from the frozen tundra someplace in Canada (or Narnia) that had a shed within the background, grew to become the primary participant in hockey historical past to win championships within the ECHL, AHL, and NHL. Beagle performed elements of 4 seasons at Hershey from 2007 by means of 2011.

“Hey Paperback, I simply needed to say congrats on an ideal profession and your jersey being retired tonight,” Beagle mentioned in a video he offered to RMNB of the Bears. “You might be probably the greatest gamers I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying with. I’ll at all times have a variety of reminiscences, nice reminiscences of enjoying with you, however I believe the particular factor for me was that point you smiled at me. One thing I’ll always remember. Get pleasure from tonight, I hope you smile.” Tonight. I like you. Do not cheat.”

Perreault spent three seasons with the Hershey Bears from 2009 by means of 2011 and received back-to-back championships with Bourque in 2010 and 2011.

“I needed to congratulate you, first, on an ideal profession, however to get your retired Hershey jersey,” Perreault mentioned. “What an incredible achievement. You deserve it very effectively. Once I consider you the very first thing I consider is these two years we received the Calder Cup collectively. I discovered this hat I am carrying right now. These two years had been essentially the most enjoyable I’ve had enjoying hockey in my total profession and I have been part of Larger than that.

“Thanks for these two dangerous boys that I additionally present in my bins,” Perreault added whereas holding the Bears championship rings. “You had been an enormous a part of this group and I would not get it executed with out you.”

“Once I first turned professional and got here to Hershey, you had been one of many guys who actually took me below his wings, confirmed me the ropes, and for that, I am going to at all times be grateful. You are one of many guys I look as much as though you are so much shorter than me. I nonetheless look as much as you. Oh you.” An incredible teammate and I miss you bro.”

Bourque was initially drafted within the second spherical, thirty third total, by the Washington Capitals within the 2004 NHL Draft—the identical occasion that noticed the Caps choose Alex Ovechkin first total. The son of one of many biggest defensemen of all time, Ray Burke, Chris had excessive expectations. And whereas he hasn’t fairly reached the identical heights as his father within the NHL, in some ways what he is completed is simply as spectacular whereas below that large highlight.

“My dad Ray was an enormous affect on me and made it really easy to fall in love with hockey,” Chris mentioned in the course of the ceremony, as his father wept. “Seeing him elevate the Stanley Cup as a child is likely one of the proudest moments of my life.”

Bourque performed 13 skilled seasons within the AHL, enjoying 794 video games with the Portland Pirates, Hershey Bears, Windfall Bruins, Hartford Wolf Pack, and Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Bourque retired with the twentieth most factors in AHL historical past (746), marking the twelfth most assists (495) and forty objectives (251). He retired essentially the most assists in Calder Cup playoff historical past with 82. He was the AHL Most Invaluable Participant in the course of the 2015-16 season after scoring 80 factors (30g, 50a) in 72 video games.

Bourque spent 9 seasons with Hershey, successful three Calder Cup championships (2006, 2009, 2010) with the group and being named the postseason MVP in 2010. The 2009-10 Bears group may very well be the best AHL group in league historical past. The Bears received 60 video games and hit a 24-game dwelling successful streak—each AHL information.

“My favourite Burke reminiscence was after we performed collectively on the championship group that received Winnipeg (2009),” mentioned Andrew Gordon, a former RMNB blogger. “We had been on the identical line and going by means of this playoff run with me, you and Willie, enjoying collectively, enjoying some large minutes, making large performs, and the thrill you bought after we gave an enormous recreation or scored an enormous aim, it was electrical. You had been at all times main the group a method or one other. “I am enthusiastic about your ardour, enjoying a task, scoring objectives. I at all times tried to study from you though you had been a bit of youthful.”

“Congratulations in your particular night time,” mentioned Keith Aucoin (an occasional RMNB contributor). “Nobody deserves it greater than that. You’ve got executed so many fantastic issues for the group. I received a number of championships and was fortunate to be a part of two of them. I’ll at all times keep in mind you coming to my condominium with meals for a pre-game meal day-after-day, zucchini and eggs being my favorite.” You may have I suppose. Sitting on the bench after an influence play aim and telling me I do not move you the ball sufficient. In order that was at all times a enjoyable factor to cope with after an influence play aim.”

“It was an honor to play with you, being your roommate and teammate for these years,” mentioned Alexandre Giroud, the fifth AHL participant to attain 60 objectives in a season. “I used to be fortunate sufficient to be within the energy play with you. You clearly made everybody round you higher. All these years at Hershey had been such a good time.”

Whereas Bourque performed in a record-setting six AHL All-Star Video games (2009, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018) and was a first-team AHL All-Star three totally different occasions, he discovered extra pleasure within the subtler issues. Corresponding to enjoying elements of two seasons (2015-2017) along with his youthful brother.

“Enjoying with Ryan has been considered one of my biggest joys professionally,” mentioned Chris.

“Rising up with Chris the place my older brother formed my id,” Ryan mentioned He mentioned. “He challenged me, he impressed me, he messed with me so much. I am 5 years youthful than Chris however each single day I used to be making an attempt to maintain up with him.

He added, “As Bears followers know, Chris is essentially the most aggressive individual I’ve ever confronted.” “I do not assume I beat him with something for the primary 12 years of my life. Chris likes to win and he did a variety of that in Hershey.”

To have a good time the event, Hershey’s bears He offered Burke with a five-pound chocolate bar and a framed T-shirt that included a hand-drawn depiction of him holding the Calder Cup on his head.

Picture: Kyle Mays/Hershey’s Bears

The present Bears honored Bourque by carrying an outdated Hershey jersey that included his quantity 17 on the again. The group auctioned them off to charity after the match.

Picture: Katie Frye/Hershey’s Bears

The league has introduced in all of the trophies Chris has received throughout his profession so prestigious that he can stand with them.

Burke, alongside along with his two youngsters Kingston and Harlow, took half in a ceremonial puck drop get together at Middle Ice with Dylan McElrath and Matthew Peca. Throughout his speech, Chris mentioned of his two youngsters “There was no higher remedy than to look out within the crowd and see you at my video games.” He was trying ahead to giving again to them throughout his retirement.

Picture: Katie Frye/Hershey’s Bears

Burke He’s now formally the eighth participant to have the Hershey Bears retired.

Earlier than leaving Big Middle that night time, he shared this remaining piece of recommendation for the 2022-23 Hershey Bears group.

“Hershey’s has been an important place in my profession and can at all times have a particular place in my coronary heart,” Burke mentioned. To all the present Chocolate and White members, put on the shirt with delight.

Banner photograph: Kyle Mays/Hershey’s Bears

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