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Raymond Jean Bourque (born December 28, 1960) is a Canadianmarker retired professional ice hockey player and Hockey Hall of Famermarker who currently holds the records for most goals, assists and points by a defenceman in the National Hockey League (NHL), and has become near-synonymous with the Boston Bruins franchise, for which he played 21 seasons and became its longest-serving captain. He finished off his career with the Colorado Avalanche where he finally won the Stanley Cup in his last NHL game.

Playing career

Bourque was the third-round pick of the Trois-Rivières Draveurs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). Half-way through his rookie season, coach and GM Michel Bergeron traded Bourque to Sorel for high-scoring Benoit Gosselin. After a stellar junior career with Sorel and Verdun of the QMJHL, in which he was named the league's best defenceman in 1978 and 1979, Ray Bourque's NHL debut came in 1979 after being drafted in the first round, 8th overall, by the Bruins, with a first round draft choice obtained from the Los Angeles Kings in a 1977 trade for goaltender Ron Grahame, whose son John would be a future teammate of Bourque's.

He would make an immediate impact in Boston, scoring a goal in his first game while facing the Winnipeg Jets. Bourque asserted himself from the start as one of the best defencemen in the league, winning both the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year and a First Team All-Star selection, the first time in NHL history a non-goaltender had ever achieved such a distinction. His 65 points that season was a record at the time for a rookie defenceman.

In 1985, upon the retirement of Bruins' captain Terry O'Reilly to coach the club, Bourque and veteran Rick Middleton were named as co-captains of the team, Middleton to wear the "C" during home games and Bourque for road games. Upon Middleton's retirement in 1988, Bourque became the team's sole captain, and retained the position for the remainder of his Bruins' tenure. In so doing, he passed Dit Clapper as the longest tenured Bruins' captain in history, as well as passing Alex Delvecchio of the Detroit Red Wings as the longest-serving team captain in NHL history, a mark since surpassed by Steve Yzerman of the Red Wings.

Bourque proved a solid force for Boston for twenty-one seasons (1979–2000), famous for combining offensive prowess at a level that few defencemen in league history had ever achieved – he was a perennial shot accuracy champion at All-Star Games — and near-unparalleled defensive excellence.
Bourque won five Norris Trophies as the league's top defenceman and finished second to Mark Messier in 1990 in the closest race ever for the Hart Memorial Trophy, the league's Most Valuable Player award. The Bruins' reliance on Bourque's on-ice mastery was so total that — while Bourque was very durable throughout much of his career — the team was seen by many to flounder whenever he was out of the lineup.

During Bourque's tenure with the Bruins, the team continued what would be a North American professional record twenty-nine consecutive seasons in the playoffs, a streak that would persist through the 1996 season. In the playoffs, Bourque led the team to the Stanley Cup finals against the Edmonton Oilers in both 1988 and 1990, where the Bruins lost in both series.

Bourque was also popular among Bruins fans because of his willingness to re-sign with Boston without any acriminous or lengthy negotiations. He passed over several opportunities to set the benchmark salary for defenceman, instead he usually quietly and quickly agree to terms with the Bruins, and this stance irritated the National Hockey League Players' Association which had been pushing to drive up players' wages.


Ray Bourque #7 Boston Garden 1979
When Bourque started playing for the Bruins, he was assigned jersey number #7, the uniform number of ex-Bruins' great Phil Esposito and only briefly worn thereafter. When the Bruins elected to retire #7 in Esposito's honor, Bourque approached Esposito during the on-ice ceremonies and removed his #7 jersey to reveal a new #77 jersey beneath, signifying that Bourque allowed Esposito's old number to be retired.

International play

Bourque played for Team Canada in the Canada Cup in 1981, 1984, and 1987. However, he did not play in the 1991 edition, despite attempts by Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier to persuade him to take part. Bourque also played for the NHL All-Stars in Rendez-vous '87 against the Soviet Union, and played for the Canadian team in the 1998 Winter Olympics, leading all defencemen in scoring.

Colorado Avalanche

The Bruins' record for North American professional sports, twenty-nine consecutive seasons in the playoffs, was ended in the 1997 season as they missed the postseason. The next two seasons, the Bruins returned back to the playoffs and in 1999, they won a playoff series for the first time since 1994.

Despite a nucleus of young talent and high expectations for 1999-2000, injuries caused the Bruins to plummet to the bottom of their division, and they went on track to miss the playoffs. This was further exacerbated by negative attention over teammate Marty McSorley's hit on Donald Brashear. Bourque requested a trade from the fading Bruins so he would have a chance to win the Stanley Cup. Initially, he requested a trade to a team on the eastern coast such as the Philadelphia Flyers, and Flyers' general manager Bobby Clarke offered the Bruins Andy Delmore and Daymond Langkow for Bourque. In reality, Bruins general manager Harry Sinden was finalizing a trade with the Colorado Avalanche, under the conditions that it could not be leaked to the press. Sinden told Bourque "This may not be your first choice, but this is the team I feel is best." On March 6, 2000, Bourque was traded to Colorado with fellow veteran Dave Andreychuk for Brian Rolston, Martin Grenier, Samuel Påhlsson and a first round draft pick. An apocryphal tale suggested that before his first game with the Avs, since the team did not yet have the size of hockey pants available to Bourque, he had to use one of the his old ones from the Bruins, where he used a black marker to cover up the Bruins logo.

Although Bourque played just a season and a half with the Avalanche, he proved to be a force both on the ice and in the locker room. In 2000, he helped the struggling Avalanche to improve their form and capture their division. During the playoffs, they advanced to the Conference Finals, where they lost to the Dallas Stars in a hard-fought series, with Bourque hitting the post in the last minutes of Game Seven which would have tied the game after his team rallied from a 3-0 deficit in the third period to 3-2.

In 2000-01 which was his final season, he was named an alternate captain. He led all Colorado defencemen in scoring, and formed a solid defensive pairing with Adam Foote and Rob Blake, the latter whom the Avs received from the Los Angeles Kings in a trade. Bourque was named to the postseason First All-Star team, finishing as runner-up to the Detroit Red Wings' Nicklas Lidstrom for the Norris Trophy.

In the 2001 playoffs, Bourque scored the game-winning goal in Game Three of the finals against the New Jersey Devils. After a 4-1 loss in Game Five which put the Avalanche in a series deficit 3-2, Bourque flew in his family and relatives for the pivotal Games Six and Seven, winning them 4-0 and 3-1, respectively. Finally, on June 9, 2001, after 22 seasons, the Avalanche — and Bourque — won the Stanley Cup, in what proved to be Bourque's final game as a player. Bourque was the first player since the tradition was established to carry the Stanley Cup on the victory lap before the team captain and two-time Cup winner, Joe Sakic. Victorious Colorado goalie Patrick Roy, whose fourth championship had come the same day as Bourque's first, said of the Cup and his teammate, "A name was missing from that [Cup], and today it is back to normal."

Bourque had waited longer to win his first Cup than any other Cup-winning player had in the 108-year history of Stanley Cup, having played 1,826 Regular season and playoff games combined. On June 12, 2001, three days after the Cup victory, Bourque exercised his right as a player to bring the Cup back to Boston for an emotional rally in Boston's City Hall Plaza attended by some 20,000 screaming fans.

He retired with defensive regular season records in goals (410) and assists (1169) for 1579 points. During the 2000-01 season, which would be the last for both players, Bourque passed Paul Coffey (intended to be Bourque's replacement on his former team, the Bruins) to become the all time leader in goals, assists and points for a defenceman.


The Aréna Raymond-Bourque in Saint-Laurent.
Bourque was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Famemarker in 2004, the first season he was eligible. His uniform number #77 has been retired by both the Bruins and the Avalanche; he is one of only six players (Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull, Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, and Patrick Roy) whose jersey has been retired by more than one club. His birthplace of Saint-Laurentmarker named the Aréna Raymond-Bourque in his honour.

He still lives in the Boston area, remaining active in several local charities, and was named a Boston Bruins team consultant on November 3, 2005. He is also the co-owner of an Italian restaurant called Tresca in Boston's North Endmarker.

His son, Chris Bourque, was drafted by the Washington Capitals in 2004. The younger Bourque is a well-regarded prospect who subsequently turned professional, playing for the Hershey Bears in the 2007 season and making his NHL debut for the Capitals in 2007. His younger son Ryan was drafted by the New York Rangers in 2009.

Awards and achievements

Bourque's prowess led him to become one of the most honored players in NHL history. During his career he was selected to thirteen First Team (the most in history) and six Second Team All-Star squads, second in total in league history only to Gordie Howe and most amongst defencemen. He won the Norris Trophy as the top defenceman in the league five times, fourth all-time only to Doug Harvey, Bobby Orr and Nicklas Lidström. Among his numerous other records and honors are the following:
  • Is seventh in all-time games played with 1,612.
  • Retired second, and is currently fourth, in all-time assists with 1,169.
  • Is eleventh in all-time points scored with 1,579.
  • Is first in all-time points scored by a defense with 1,579.
  • Is first in all-time defense goals scored with 410.
  • The NHL career leader in shots on goal with 6,206, nearly a thousand ahead of the second leading shooter, Marcel Dionne.
  • Is third in all-time cumulative plus-minus with 528, behind Larry Robinson and Bobby Orr.
  • Won the Norris Trophy in 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991 and 1994.
  • Won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in 1992.
  • Received the Lester Patrick Trophy in 2003.
  • Named a First Team All-Star in 1980, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990–1994, 1996 and 2001.
  • Named a Second Team All-Star in 1981, 1983, 1986, 1989, 1995 and 1999.
  • Became only the sixth defenceman in NHL history to score 30 goals in a season, 1984
  • Became only the third defenceman in NHL history to reach the 1,000 NHL points milestone, 1992
  • Is the Bruins' all-time career leader in games played, assists and points; also ranks fourth in goals.
  • Registered his 1,528th point Oct. 25, 2000, vs. Nashville, passing Paul Coffey as the NHL's all-time leader among defencemen.
  • Registered his 1,137th assist Dec. 21, 2000 vs. L.A. Kings, passing Paul Coffey for second place on the NHL's all-time assists list and first among defencemen.
  • Named to play in the All-Star Game for the 19th consecutive season, passing Wayne Gretzky for the league record, 2001
  • Was named the Most Valuable Player of the All-Star Game in 1996.
  • Is third all-time in playoff assists and tenth all-time in playoff points.
  • In 1998, three years before the end of his career, he was ranked number 14 on The Hockey News' list of the one hundred greatest hockey players of all time. He was the highest-ranking player who had not yet won a Stanley Cup, the next highest being No. 38-ranked Marcel Dionne.

Career statistics

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1976–77 Sorel Black Hawks QMJHL 69 12 36 48 61
1977–78 Verdun Black Hawks QMJHL 72 22 57 79 90 4 2 1 3 0
1978–79 Verdun Black Hawks QMJHL 63 22 71 93 44 11 3 16 19 18
1979–80 Boston Bruins NHL 80 17 48 65 73 10 2 9 11 27
1980–81 Boston Bruins NHL 67 27 29 56 96 3 0 1 1 2
1981–82 Boston Bruins NHL 65 17 49 66 51 9 1 5 6 16
1982–83 Boston Bruins NHL 65 22 51 73 20 17 8 15 23 10
1983–84 Boston Bruins NHL 78 31 65 96 57 3 0 2 2 0
1984–85 Boston Bruins NHL 73 20 66 86 53 5 0 3 3 4
1985–86 Boston Bruins NHL 74 19 58 77 68 3 0 0 0 0
1986–87 Boston Bruins NHL 78 23 72 95 36 4 1 2 3 0
1987–88 Boston Bruins NHL 78 17 64 81 72 23 3 18 21 26
1988–89 Boston Bruins NHL 60 18 43 61 52 10 0 4 4 6
1989–90 Boston Bruins NHL 76 19 65 84 50 17 5 12 17 16
1990–91 Boston Bruins NHL 76 21 73 94 75 19 7 18 25 12
1991–92 Boston Bruins NHL 80 21 60 81 56 12 3 6 9 12
1992–93 Boston Bruins NHL 78 19 63 82 40 4 1 0 1 2
1993–94 Boston Bruins NHL 72 20 71 91 58 13 2 8 10 0
1994–95 Boston Bruins NHL 46 12 31 43 20 5 0 3 3 0
1995–96 Boston Bruins NHL 80 20 62 82 58 5 1 6 7 2
1996–97 Boston Bruins NHL 62 19 31 50 18
1997–98 Boston Bruins NHL 82 13 35 48 80 6 1 4 5 2
1998–99 Boston Bruins NHL 81 10 47 57 34 12 1 9 10 14
1999–00 Boston Bruins NHL 65 10 28 38 20
1999–00 Colorado Avalanche NHL 14 8 6 14 6 13 1 8 9 8
2000–01 Colorado Avalanche NHL 80 7 52 59 48 21 4 6 10 12
QMJHL totals 204 56 164 220 195 15 5 17 22 18
NHL totals 1612 410 1169 1579 1141 214 41 139 180 171

See also


External links

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