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 sport towards the Springfield Thunderbirds. The Bears would go on to win later that night time 6-2 after getting objectives from prime prospects Hendrix Lapierre and Conor McMichael.

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

“The most effective years of my life have been taking part in in Hershey,” Burky mentioned. “I’ve had many nights in Hershey that shall be with me endlessly. Tonight is a kind of nights.”

In the course of the ceremony, Burke obtained video shout-outs from a bunch 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, turned the primary participant in hockey historical past to win championships within the ECHL, AHL, and NHL. Beagle performed components of 4 seasons at Hershey from 2007 via 2011.

“Hey Paperback, I simply wished to say congrats on an excellent profession and your jersey being retired tonight,” Beagle mentioned in a video he supplied to RMNB of the Bears. “You’re probably the greatest gamers I’ve ever had the pleasure of taking part in with. I’ll all the time have loads of recollections, nice recollections of taking part in with you, however I feel the particular factor for me was that point you smiled at me. One thing I’ll always remember. Take pleasure in tonight, I hope you smile.” Tonight. I like you. Do not cheat.”

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

“I wished to congratulate you, first, on an excellent profession, however to get your retired Hershey jersey,” Perreault mentioned. “What an incredible achievement. You deserve it very properly. 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 sporting right now. These two years have been probably the most enjoyable I’ve had taking part in hockey in my whole profession and I have been part of Greater than that.

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

“Once I first turned professional and got here to Hershey, you have been one of many guys who actually took me below his wings, confirmed me the ropes, and for that, I am going to all the time be grateful. You are one of many guys I look as much as though you are rather a lot shorter than me. I nonetheless look as much as you. Oh you.” An ideal 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 throughout the ceremony, as his father wept. “Seeing him raise the Stanley Cup as a child is likely one of the proudest moments of my life.”

Bourque performed 13 skilled seasons within the AHL, taking part in 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 probably the most assists in Calder Cup playoff historical past with 82. He was the AHL Most Invaluable Participant throughout the 2015-16 season after scoring 80 factors (30g, 50a) in 72 video games.

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

“My favourite Burke reminiscence was after we performed collectively on the championship workforce that received Winnipeg (2009),” mentioned Andrew Gordon, a former RMNB blogger. “We have been on the identical line and going via this playoff run with me, you and Willie, taking part in collectively, taking part in some large minutes, making large performs, and the joy you bought after we gave an enormous sport or scored an enormous purpose, it was electrical. You have been all the time main the workforce a method or one other. “I am enthusiastic about your ardour, taking part in a job, scoring objectives. I all the time tried to study from you though you have been a bit youthful.”

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

“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 have 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 completely different instances, he discovered extra pleasure within the subtler issues. Similar to taking part in components of two seasons (2015-2017) together with his youthful brother.

“Enjoying with Ryan has been one in every 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 rather a lot. I am 5 years youthful than Chris however each single day I used to be attempting to maintain up with him.

He added, “As Bears followers know, Chris is probably the most aggressive particular person 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 loads of that in Hershey.”

To rejoice 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 sporting an outdated Hershey jersey that included his quantity 17 on the again. The workforce 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 together with his two kids Kingston and Harlow, took half within the ceremonial puck drop get together at Heart Ice with Dylan McElrath and Matthew Peca. Throughout his speech, Chris mentioned of his two kids “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 Large Heart that night time, he shared this last piece of recommendation for the 2022-23 Hershey Bears workforce.

“Hershey’s has been a very powerful place in my profession and can all the time have a particular place in my coronary heart,” Burke mentioned. To all the present members of Chocolate and White, put on the shirt with satisfaction.

Banner picture: Kyle Mays/Hershey’s Bears

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