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 fun Burke that night time, Give all followers small banners Once they entered the Big Middle and held a 30-minute touching pre-game social gathering that included your complete Bourque household.

“The perfect years of my life have been enjoying in Hershey,” Burky mentioned. “I’ve had many nights in Hershey that will likely be with me without end. Tonight is a kind of nights.”

Throughout 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, 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 way of 2011.

“Hey Paperback, I simply wished to say congrats on an important profession and your jersey being retired tonight,” Beagle mentioned in a video he supplied to RMNB of the Bears. “You might be the most effective gamers I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying with. I’ll all the time have plenty of reminiscences, nice reminiscences 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. 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 way of 2011 and gained back-to-back championships with Bourque in 2010 and 2011.

“I wished to congratulate you, first, on an important profession, however to get your retired Hershey jersey,” Perreault mentioned. “What an incredible 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 carrying right this moment. These two years have 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 have been an enormous a part of this crew 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 am going to all the time be grateful. You are one of many guys I look as much as although 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 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 elevate the Stanley Cup as a child is among 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 Beneficial 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 crew and being named the postseason MVP in 2010. The 2009-10 Bears crew could possibly be the best AHL crew in league historical past. The Bears gained 60 video games and hit a 24-game house successful streak—each AHL information.

“My favourite Burke reminiscence was once we performed collectively on the championship crew that gained Winnipeg (2009),” mentioned Andrew Gordon, a former RMNB blogger. “We have 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 an enormous recreation or scored an enormous objective, it was electrical. You have been all the time main the crew a technique or one other. “I am enthusiastic about your ardour, enjoying a task, scoring targets. I all the time tried to be taught from you although 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 have carried out 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 keep in mind you coming to my condo with meals for a pre-game meal on daily basis, zucchini and eggs being my favorite.” You could have I suppose. Sitting on the bench after an influence play objective and telling me I do not cross you the ball sufficient. In order that was all the time a enjoyable factor to take care of after an influence play objective.”

“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 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 occasions, he discovered extra pleasure within the subtler issues. Similar to enjoying elements of two seasons (2015-2017) along with his youthful brother.

“Enjoying with Ryan has been one in all my biggest 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 attempting 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 plenty of that in Hershey.”

To have fun 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.

Photograph: 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 crew auctioned them off to charity after the match.

Photograph: 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 wanting ahead to giving again to them throughout his retirement.

Photograph: 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 ultimate piece of recommendation for the 2022-23 Hershey Bears crew.

“Hershey’s has been crucial 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 delight.

Banner photograph: Kyle Mays/Hershey’s Bears

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