Bourque, Raymond Jean

Raymond Bourque, hockey player (b at Montréal, Qué, 28 Dec 1960). Raymond Bourque is one of the NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE's best-ever defensemen, holding the record for the most points, goals and assists for a defenseman in the league. At an early age Bourque was inspired by his hometown team, the MONTREAL CANADIENS, and their impressive defensive lineup. He had a successful junior career, joining the Sorel Éperviers (later the Verdun Éperviers) at age 16. During the 1977-78 season he tallied an impressive 22 goals and 57 assists (79 points in total) and was named the best defenseman in the junior league, a feat he bettered the following season with a total of 93 points.

In 1979 Bourque was chosen by the NHL's Boston Bruins in their first draft selection, 8th overall in the entire draft. His first NHL season was strong, resulting in 65 points (the most a rookie had ever amassed up to that time) and he was subsequently awarded the CALDER TROPHY and selected to the league's First All-Star Team. Bourque ultimately spent 21 seasons with the Bruins, earning 18 All-Star selections and receiving the NORRIS TROPHY 5 times (surpassed only by Bobby ORR and Doug Harvey). The best season of his career occurred in 1983-84 when he scored 31 goals and earned 91 points to become the best defenseman that season. His success continued and by the end of the decade he had played in 19 All-Star games (surpassing Wayne GRETZKY's record) and represented Canada at the CANADA CUP in 1981, 1984 and 1987. In 1992 he earned the King Clancy trophy, and in 1998 he represented Canada at the OLYMPIC GAMES in Nagano, Japan.

Yet Bourque's ultimate goal, a STANLEY CUP victory, continued to elude him during his time with the Bruins, although the team came close in 1988 and 1990. In 2000 Bourque chose to change directions, signing on with the Colorado Avalanche and ultimately helping the team to secure a Stanley Cup victory in 2001. He retired from professional hockey that year.

Throughout his career Bourque had chosen to wear #7, a number formerly belonging to hockey legend Phil ESPOSITO. In a gesture to his hero, Bourque surrendered his #7 at a jersey retirement ceremony for Esposito in 1987, revealing that his new number would now be 77. It, too, would eventually be retired by both the Bruins and the Avalanche. In all Bourque amassed 410 goals, 1 169 assists and a total of 1 579 points in over 1 600 regular season games, securing a place as one of the NHL's all-time best defensemen. In 2003 Raymond Bourque won the Lester Patrick Trophy for his contributions to the game, and in 2004 he was inducted into the HOCKEY HALL OF FAME.