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

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

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

Throughout 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 elements 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 stated in a video he offered to RMNB of the Bears. “You might be among the best gamers I’ve ever had the pleasure of taking part in with. I’ll at all times have loads 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. 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 wished to congratulate you, first, on a terrific profession, however to get your retired Hershey jersey,” Perreault stated. “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 sporting at present. These two years had been essentially the most enjoyable I’ve had taking part in hockey in my total profession and I have been part of Greater 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 crew and I would not get it achieved 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 am going to 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 ideal 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 achieved 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 stated 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 essentially the most assists in Calder Cup playoff historical past with 82. He was the AHL Most Worthwhile 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 crew and being named the postseason MVP in 2010. The 2009-10 Bears crew may very well be the best AHL crew 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 after we performed collectively on the championship crew that gained Winnipeg (2009),” stated 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 large minutes, making large performs, and the thrill you bought after we gave an enormous recreation or scored an enormous aim, it was electrical. You had been at all times main the crew a technique or one other. “I am enthusiastic about your ardour, taking part in a task, scoring objectives. I at all times tried to be taught from you despite the fact that 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 achieved so many fantastic issues for the group. I gained a number of championships and was fortunate to be a part of two of them. I’ll at all times bear in mind you coming to my house with meals for a pre-game meal each day, zucchini and eggs being my favorite.” You have got I suppose. Sitting on the bench after an influence play aim and telling me I do not cross you the ball sufficient. In order that was at all times a enjoyable factor to cope with 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 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 completely different occasions, he discovered extra pleasure within the subtler issues. Equivalent to taking part in elements of two seasons (2015-2017) along with his youthful brother.

“Enjoying with Ryan has been one among my best joys professionally,” stated Chris.

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

To have fun 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 sporting an outdated Hershey jersey that included his quantity 17 on the again. The crew 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 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 Big Middle that evening, he shared this closing piece of recommendation for the 2022-23 Hershey Bears crew.

“Hershey’s has been an important place in my profession and can at all times have a particular place in my coronary heart,” Burke stated. To all the present Chocolate and White members, put on the shirt with pleasure.

Banner photograph: Kyle Mays/Hershey’s Bears

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