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 in opposition to the Springfield Thunderbirds. The Bears would go on to win later that evening 6-2 after getting targets from high prospects Hendrix Lapierre and Conor McMichael.

The Hershey’s Bears went out to have a good time 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 whole Bourque household.

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

Through the ceremony, Burke acquired 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 way of 2011.

“Hey Paperback, I simply needed to say congrats on an awesome profession and your jersey being retired tonight,” Beagle stated 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 at all times have quite a lot 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. Get pleasure from tonight, I hope you smile.” Tonight. I 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 needed 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 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 this time. These two years had been probably the most enjoyable I’ve had enjoying hockey in my whole profession and I have been part of Greater 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 workforce 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 will at all times be grateful. You are one of many guys I look as much as although you are so much 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 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 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 stated through the ceremony, as his father wept. “Seeing him raise 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 probably the most assists in Calder Cup playoff historical past with 82. He was the AHL Most Worthwhile Participant through 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 workforce and being named the postseason MVP in 2010. The 2009-10 Bears workforce may very well be the best AHL workforce in league historical past. The Bears gained 60 video games and hit a 24-game dwelling successful streak—each AHL data.

“My favourite Burke reminiscence was once we performed collectively on the championship workforce 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 an enormous sport or scored an enormous purpose, it was electrical. You had been at all times main the workforce a technique or one other. “I am enthusiastic about your ardour, enjoying a job, scoring targets. I at all times tried to be taught from you although you had been somewhat 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 great 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 keep in mind you coming to my condo with meals for a pre-game meal day by day, zucchini and eggs being my favorite.” You’ve gotten I assume. Sitting on the bench after an influence play purpose and telling me I do not move you the ball sufficient. In order that was at all times a enjoyable factor to take care of after an influence play purpose.”

“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. Equivalent to enjoying components of two seasons (2015-2017) together with his youthful brother.

“Taking part in with Ryan has been one in all 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 so much. 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 particular person 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 quite a lot of that in Hershey.”

To have a good time 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 outdated Hershey jersey that included his quantity 17 on the again. The workforce 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 together with his two kids Kingston and Harlow, took half within the ceremonial puck drop social gathering at Middle Ice with Dylan McElrath and Matthew Peca. Throughout his speech, Chris stated of his two kids “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 ultimate piece of recommendation for the 2022-23 Hershey Bears workforce.

“Hershey’s has been crucial place in my profession and can at all times 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 photograph: Kyle Mays/Hershey’s Bears

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