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 in opposition to 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 rejoice Burke that night time, Give all followers small banners After they entered the Large Middle and held a 30-minute touching pre-game celebration that included the complete Bourque household.

“The very best years of my life have been enjoying in Hershey,” Burky mentioned. “I’ve had many nights in Hershey that shall 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, grew to become 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 means of 2011.

“Hey Paperback, I simply wished 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 might be among the finest gamers I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying with. I’ll at all times have plenty of recollections, nice recollections of enjoying 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 by means of 2011 and received back-to-back championships with Bourque in 2010 and 2011.

“I wished 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 properly. After 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 at the moment. These two years have 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 have been an enormous a part of this staff and I would not get it carried out with out you.”

“After 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 will at all times be grateful. You are one of many guys I look as much as despite the fact that you are lots 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 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 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 below that huge 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 without doubt 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 probably the most assists in Calder Cup playoff historical past with 82. He was the AHL Most Helpful Participant throughout 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 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 received 60 video games and hit a 24-game residence successful streak—each AHL information.

“My favourite Burke reminiscence was once we performed collectively on the championship staff that received Winnipeg (2009),” mentioned Andrew Gordon, a former RMNB blogger. “We have been on the identical line and going by means of this playoff run with me, you and Willie, enjoying collectively, enjoying some huge minutes, making huge performs, and the thrill you bought once we gave an enormous recreation or scored an enormous purpose, it was electrical. You have been at all times main the staff a method or one other. “I am enthusiastic about your ardour, enjoying a job, scoring objectives. I at all times tried to be taught from you despite the fact that you have 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 carried out so many fantastic issues for the group. I received just a few championships and was fortunate to be a part of two of them. I’ll at all times bear in mind you coming to my condo with meals for a pre-game meal every single day, zucchini and eggs being my favorite.” You have got I suppose. Sitting on the bench after an influence play purpose and telling me I do not go you the ball sufficient. In order that was at all times 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. Equivalent to enjoying components of two seasons (2015-2017) along with his youthful brother.

“Taking part in with Ryan has been one among 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 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 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 plenty of 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 carrying 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 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 celebration 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 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 Middle that night time, he shared this ultimate piece of recommendation for the 2022-23 Hershey Bears staff.

“Hershey’s has been crucial 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 pleasure.

Banner picture: Kyle Mays/Hershey’s Bears

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