Chris Bourque sent a heartfelt “thank you” to Hershey Bears fans via his Twitter account on Thursday. The farewell tweet signals the end of the left winger’s tenure with the Bears. Bourque leaves quite a legacy in Chocolate Town.
The Boston native is a three-time Calder Cup champion with the Bears (2006, 2009, 2010), including winning the Jack A. Butterfield trophy as playoff most valuable player in 2010. He also helped Hershey reach the Calder Cup finals in 2007 and 2016.
Bourque’s name is found up and down the Hershey record book. He sits fifth on the franchise’s all-time scoring list with 586 points. The left winger’s 390 assists place him third all-time and his 196 goals are seventh best in team history. He has also played the fifth most games in Hershey history.
His place in the Hershey record books extends to the playoffs. Bourque has played in more Calder Cup playoff games, 106, than anyone else in the team’s 80-year history. Mike Nykoluk is the only other Bear to play in more than 100 playoff games. He has tallied more points, 86, than any other player in the franchise’s history. Bourque and Nykoluk share the franchise record with 60 playoff assists and Bourque’s 26 goals trails only his former teammate Alexandre Giroux on the all-time playoff goal scoring list.
During his Hershey career, Bourque made the AHL All-Star team five times. He led the AHL in scoring in 2011-12 (93 points) and 2015-16 (80 points). He was the top assist man in the league in 2011-12 with 66. Bourque was named an AHL First Team All-Star in 2011-12 and 2015-16. He earned the Les Cunningham Award as the AHL MVP at the conclusion of the 2015-16 season. On top of all that, he represented the Bears on Team USA in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Looking at all the numbers, it is easy to see where Bourque fits into the franchise’s history. If one combines his regular season and playoff numbers, only Mike Nykoluk and Tim Tookey have scored more points than Bourque in a Bears’ uniform. Both of those players have their numbers retired by Hershey. It is a safe bet that Chris Bourque’s number 17 will join them in the rafters.
By Eric Lord
Thank you to all bears fans! Was a thrill playing in front of all of you these past 3 Years! Hershey will always be a second home to my family! Till next time pic.twitter.com/pFIFbuDL1t
— Chris Bourque (@cbourque17) July 5, 2018