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 targets 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 Large Middle and held a 30-minute touching pre-game social gathering that included all the Bourque household.

“One of the best years of my life had been enjoying in Hershey,” Burky mentioned. “I’ve had many nights in Hershey that will likely be with me perpetually. Tonight is a type 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 by 2011.

“Hey Paperback, I simply needed to say congrats on an amazing 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 enjoying with. I’ll all the time have lots of recollections, nice recollections 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 really like you. Do not cheat.”

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

“I needed to congratulate you, first, on an amazing profession, however to get your retired Hershey jersey,” Perreault mentioned. “What an incredible achievement. You deserve it very nicely. After I consider you the very first thing I consider is these two years we gained the Calder Cup collectively. I discovered this hat I am carrying at present. These two years had been probably the most enjoyable I’ve had enjoying hockey in my whole profession and I have been part of Larger than that.

“Thanks for these two unhealthy 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 workforce and I would not get it finished with out you.”

“After I first turned professional and got here to Hershey, you had been one of many guys who actually took me beneath 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 regardless that you are lots shorter than me. I nonetheless look as much as you. Oh you.” An amazing teammate and I miss you bro.”

Bourque was initially drafted within the second spherical, thirty third general, by the Washington Capitals within the 2004 NHL Draft—the identical occasion that noticed the Caps choose Alex Ovechkin first general. The son of one of many best 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 beneath 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 through 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 targets (251). He retired probably the most assists in Calder Cup playoff historical past with 82. He was the AHL Most Invaluable Participant through 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 could possibly be the best AHL workforce in league historical past. The Bears gained 60 video games and hit a 24-game residence profitable streak—each AHL information.

“My favourite Burke reminiscence was once we performed collectively on the championship workforce that gained Winnipeg (2009),” mentioned Andrew Gordon, a former RMNB blogger. “We had been on the identical line and going by this playoff run with me, you and Willie, enjoying collectively, enjoying some large minutes, making large performs, and the thrill you bought once we gave an enormous recreation or scored an enormous aim, it was electrical. You had been all the time main the workforce a method or one other. “I am enthusiastic about your ardour, enjoying a job, scoring targets. I all the time tried to be taught from you regardless that you had been a little bit youthful.”

“Congratulations in your particular night time,” mentioned Keith Aucoin (an occasional RMNB contributor). “Nobody deserves it greater than that. You have finished so many fantastic issues for the group. I gained just a few championships and was fortunate to be a part of two of them. I’ll all the time bear in mind you coming to my house with meals for a pre-game meal each day, zucchini and eggs being my favorite.” You’ve got 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 all the time a enjoyable factor to take care of 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 targets 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 instances, he discovered extra pleasure within the subtler issues. Resembling enjoying components of two seasons (2015-2017) along with his youthful brother.

“Taking part in with Ryan has been certainly one of my best joys professionally,” mentioned Chris.

“Rising up with Chris the place my older brother formed my identification,” Ryan mentioned He mentioned. “He challenged me, he impressed me, he messed with me lots. 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 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 lots 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 previous 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 gained 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 social gathering 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 Large Middle that night time, he shared this remaining 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 Chocolate and White members, put on the shirt with pleasure.

Banner picture: Kyle Mays/Hershey’s Bears

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