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 evening 6-2 after getting targets from prime prospects Hendrix Lapierre and Conor McMichael.

The Hershey’s Bears went out to rejoice Burke that evening, Give all followers small banners Once they entered the Large Heart and held a 30-minute touching pre-game celebration that included your complete Bourque household.

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

Through the ceremony, Burke acquired 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, turned 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 way of 2011.

“Hey Paperback, I simply wished to say congrats on an awesome profession and your jersey being retired tonight,” Beagle stated in a video he offered to RMNB of the Bears. “You’re among the finest gamers I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying with. I’ll all the time have numerous 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. Take pleasure in tonight, I hope you smile.” Tonight. I really like you. Do not cheat.”

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

“I wished to congratulate you, first, on an awesome profession, however to get your retired Hershey jersey,” Perreault stated. “What a tremendous achievement. You deserve it very effectively. 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 sporting immediately. These two years had been essentially 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 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 staff and I would not get it accomplished with out you.”

“After I first turned professional and got here to Hershey, you had been one of many guys who actually took me underneath 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 excellent 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 achieved is simply as spectacular whereas underneath that huge highlight.

“My dad Ray was an enormous affect on me and made it really easy to fall in love with hockey,” Chris stated through 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, 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 essentially the most assists in Calder Cup playoff historical past with 82. He was the AHL Most Helpful 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 staff and being named the postseason MVP in 2010. The 2009-10 Bears staff may very well be the best AHL staff in league historical past. The Bears gained 60 video games and hit a 24-game dwelling profitable streak—each AHL data.

“My favourite Burke reminiscence was once we performed collectively on the championship staff that gained Winnipeg (2009),” stated Andrew Gordon, a former RMNB blogger. “We had been on the identical line and going by way of 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 a giant sport or scored a giant aim, it was electrical. You had been all the time main the staff a technique or one other. “I am enthusiastic about your ardour, enjoying a task, scoring targets. I all the time tried to study from you though you had been just a little youthful.”

“Congratulations in your particular evening,” stated Keith Aucoin (an occasional RMNB contributor). “Nobody deserves it greater than that. You’ve got accomplished so many great issues for the group. I gained a couple 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 condominium with meals for a pre-game meal day-after-day, zucchini and eggs being my favorite.” You will have I assume. Sitting on the bench after an influence play aim and telling me I do not go 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,” stated 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. Corresponding to enjoying elements of two seasons (2015-2017) together with his youthful brother.

“Taking part in with Ryan has been one among my biggest joys professionally,” stated Chris.

“Rising up with Chris the place my older brother formed my identification,” Ryan stated He stated. “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 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 suppose I beat him with something for the primary 12 years of my life. Chris likes to win and he did numerous that in Hershey.”

To rejoice the event, Hershey’s bears He introduced 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 staff 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 together with his two youngsters Kingston and Harlow, took half within the ceremonial puck drop celebration at Heart Ice with Dylan McElrath and Matthew Peca. Throughout his speech, Chris stated 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 wanting 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 evening, he shared this closing piece of recommendation for the 2022-23 Hershey Bears staff.

“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 stated. To all the present members of Chocolate and White, put on the shirt with pleasure.

Banner picture: Kyle Mays/Hershey’s Bears

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