It goes without saying that the name Bourque is synonymous for Boston Bruins fans.
For many years, Raymond Bourque was a household name as a defenseman, a team captain, and a role model for many in The Hub of Hockey. This time around, its Raymond’s son, Chris, who is looking to add to the Bourque legacy.
With an injury to Jordan Caron, the opening is there for Chris Bourque to fill the void on the third line with Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley. And after several years in the American Hockey League – and high expectations after his one year at Boston University – Chris is looking to make a name for himself and continue the Bourque legacy.
“It’s definitely a unique situation. I don’t think many kids have had this opportunity where their dad was kind of a legend in the town, and then they get a chance to play on the same team.” Chris said about donning the same spoked B that his father did from 1979-2000.
“It means a lot. I was the biggest fan of the Bruins growing up, and even when they won the Stanley Cup I was pretty much at every game here and really cheering for them, so I’ve always been a fan of the Bruins.
He might have had one year at BU, but Bourque has made a name for himself already at TD Garden. And that came when he scored the game winner against Northeastern in the finals of The Beanpot on Valentines Day in 2005.
“To this day its still one of the funnest memories I’ve had is scoring the game-winning goal in The Beanpot and that it happened in a sold out crowd,” he said. “Growing up in Boston, The Beanpot is always a huge thing. So to be able to play in it and then to help my team win it is one of the best hockey memories that I have.”
While he struggled early in the 2012-13 AHL season, Bourque’s game continued to progress. He currently stands as the Providence Bruins’ leading scorer with 28 points (8 goals, 20 assists) in 32 games.
For the first few days of practice, Boston coach Claude Julien has been pretty impressed with Bourque’s effort. And with his good hands, he has put Bourque on the second power play unit.
“He’s a guy that has produced well in the American Hockey League,” Julien said about the 26-year old Bourque. “He’s got the skill level, he’s obviously older, he’s matured at the pro level and everything else, so what I saw in Providence earlier on is a guy who was trying to do too much and you could tell it was hurting his game. And once he settled in and relaxed and started to do the things as he can, he became a pretty good leader on that hockey club. Again, he’s got some players right now that i think can compliment him and his game, so we’re going to give that a try and see where we go.”
After growing up seeing the likes of his father, Cam Neely, Adam Oates and countless others, coming to Boston has been a dream come true for Bourque. But now he is looking to cement his spot on the Bruins roster in a new locker room – both figuratively and literally after the recent renovations.
“It’s great. I pretty much grew up in this locker room,” he said. “All the new wallpaper, bathrooms, the trainers loung and all that stuff is really nice. Not that it was nice back then, but since the last time I’ve been here it’s really looking sharp.”
While he’s looking to make a name for himself, Chris knows he can lean on his hall of fame father for advice both on and off the ice.
“Just play my game. He knows the player that i am, knows and knows what I can do out there,” Chris said about his Dad’s advice. “So he tells me to play my game and do the things that I can do and just be a a consistent hockey player. And the rest will fall into place.”