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

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

“The very best years of my life had been taking part in in Hershey,” Burky mentioned. “I’ve had many nights in Hershey that will probably be with me ceaselessly. Tonight is a type of nights.”

Through the ceremony, Burke obtained 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 components of 4 seasons at Hershey from 2007 by 2011.

“Hey Paperback, I simply wished to say congrats on a terrific profession and your jersey being retired tonight,” Beagle mentioned in a video he supplied to RMNB of the Bears. “You’re among the best gamers I’ve ever had the pleasure of taking part in with. I’ll at all times have lots of recollections, nice recollections of taking part in 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 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 wished to congratulate you, first, on a terrific 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 the moment. These two years had been probably the most enjoyable I’ve had taking part in hockey in my total 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 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 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 regardless that you are quite a bit 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 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 huge highlight.

“My dad Ray was an enormous affect on me and made it really easy to fall in love with hockey,” Chris mentioned in the course of 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 in the course of 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 house profitable streak—each AHL information.

“My favourite Burke reminiscence was once we performed collectively on the championship staff 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, taking part in collectively, taking part in some huge minutes, making huge performs, and the joy you bought once we gave an enormous recreation or scored an enormous objective, it was electrical. You had been at all times main the staff a technique or one other. “I am enthusiastic about your ardour, taking part in a task, scoring objectives. I at all times tried to study from you regardless that you had been just a little youthful.”

“Congratulations in your particular evening,” mentioned Keith Aucoin (an occasional RMNB contributor). “Nobody deserves it greater than that. You’ve got accomplished 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 at all times keep in mind you coming to my condo with meals for a pre-game meal daily, zucchini and eggs being my favorite.” You have got 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 at all times 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 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 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. Equivalent to taking part in components of two seasons (2015-2017) along with his youthful brother.

“Taking part in with Ryan has been considered one 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 quite a bit. 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 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 lots 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.

Photograph: 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 staff 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 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 trying 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 evening, he shared this last piece of recommendation for the 2022-23 Hershey Bears staff.

“Hershey’s has been an important 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 satisfaction.

Banner photograph: Kyle Mays/Hershey’s Bears

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