NHL Wiki
Ray Bourque
Born December 28, 1960 (1960-12-28) (age 61)
Saint-Laurent, QC, CAN
5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
220 lb (100 kg; 15 st 10 lb)
Position Defense
Shot Left
Played for Boston Bruins
Colorado Avalanche
Ntl. team  Canada
NHL Draft 8th overall, 1979
Boston Bruins
Playing career 1979–2001
Hall of Fame, 2004

Raymond Jean "Ray" Bourque (born December 28, 1960) is a former Canadian professional ice hockey player. He currently holds records for most goals, assists and points by a defenseman in the National Hockey League (NHL). Bourque 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 won the Stanley Cup in his last NHL game.

Playing career[]

Raymond Bourque was born in Saint-Laurent, Quebec, Canada, December 28, 1960 then moved with his family to Montreal at the age of 10. 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 defenseman in 1978 and 1979, Raymond Bourque's NHL debut came in 1979 after being drafted 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.[1] Bourque asserted himself from the start as one of the best defensemen 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 the distinction. His 65 points that season was a record at the time for a rookie defenseman.[2]

In 1985, upon the retirement of Bruins' captain Terry O'Reilly to coach the club, Bourque and veteran Rick Middleton were named 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 defensemen in league history had ever achieved—he was a perennial shot accuracy champion at All-Star Games—and near-unparalleled defensive excellence. [3] Bourque won five Norris Trophies as the league's top defenseman 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.[4]

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.[5]

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 defenseman; instead, he usually quietly and quickly agreed to terms with the Bruins, and this stance irritated the National Hockey League Players' Association which had been pushing to drive up players' wages.[6]


File:Defenseman Ray Bourque 1979.jpg

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 afterwards. When the Bruins elected to retire #7 in Esposito's honor, on December 3, 1987, Bourque approached Esposito during the on-ice ceremonies and removed his #7 jersey to reveal a new #77 jersey beneath, "surrendering" the #7 jersey in Esposito's favor.[1]

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 defensemen 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. The next two seasons, the Bruins returned 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.[7][8][9] Bourque requested a trade from the fading Bruins so he would have a chance to win the Stanley Cup.[2] Initially, he requested a trade to a team on the East 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 condition that it could not be leaked to the press. Sinden badly wanted Bourque to have a chance to close out his career with a Cup win, and 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.

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 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—what turned out to be his only full season in Colorado—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 of 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, Bourque—and the Avalanche—won the Stanley Cup, in what proved to be Bourque's final game as a player. After team captain Joe Sakic, who had just won his second title, took the Cup from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, he immediately handed it to Bourque (without hoisting it himself) so Bourque could take the first victory lap around the ice. This broke a longstanding tradition which called for the captain to take the first lap. 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."[10]

Bourque had waited longer to win his first Cup than any other Cup-winning player had in the 108-year history of the Stanley Cup, having played 1,612 regular season and 214 playoff games before winning the Cup. 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 fans. Bourque retired shortly thereafter, having set 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 defenseman at any senior professional level.


File:Aréna Raymond-Bourque 1.JPG

The Aréna Raymond-Bourque in Saint-Laurent, QC.

Bourque was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame 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-Laurent named the Aréna Raymond-Bourque in his honour.[11]

He still lives in the Boston area with his wife Christianne, 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 [12] in Boston's North End.

His elder son, Christopher, was drafted by the Washington Capitals in 2004. Christopher 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 a 3rd round draft choice by the New York Rangers in 2009, and was a member of the USA's 2010 gold-medal World Junior Championship team, earning three assists during the tournament.[13][14][15] Ryan plays junior hockey for the Quebec Remparts in the QMJHL and was an alternate captain for the USA's 2011 World Junior Championship team, in which he again earned three assists as the team won the bronze medal.[13][16][17]

Awards and achievements[]

Bourque's prowess led him to become one of the most honored players in hockey history. During his career, he was selected to thirteen NHL 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 defensemen. He won the Norris Trophy as the top defenseman in the league five times, fourth all-time after Doug Harvey, Bobby Orr and Nicklas Lidström.

Among his numerous other records and honors are the following:

  • Retired third (second among defensemen), and is currently eighth (fourth among defensemen), in all-time games played with 1,612.
  • Retired second, and is currently fourth, in all-time assists with 1,169; this is still a record for defensemen.
  • Is eleventh in all-time points scored with 1,579.
  • Is first in all-time points scored by a defenseman with 1,579.
  • Is first in all-time defense goals scored with 410.
  • The career leader in shots on goal with 6,206, nearly one thousand ahead of the second leading shooter, Marcel Dionne.[18]
  • Is third in all-time cumulative plus-minus with 528, behind Larry Robinson and Orr.[3]
  • 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 NHL 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 defenseman in professional history to score 30 goals in a season, 1984
  • Became only the third defenseman in professional history to reach the 1,000 NHL points milestone, 1992
  • Is the Bruins' all-time career leader in games played (1,518), assists (1,111) and points (1,506), also ranking fourth in goals and first in assists with a single team (any position)
  • Registered his 1,528th point Oct. 25, 2000, vs. Nashville, passing Paul Coffey as the NHL's all-time leader among defensemen.
  • Registered his 1,137th assist Dec. 21, 2000, vs. L.A. Kings, passing Coffey for second place on the NHL's all-time assists list and first among defensemen.
  • Named to play in the All-Star Game for the 19th consecutive season, passing Wayne Gretzky for the league record, 2001; Bourque also appeared in the All-Star Game in every season that it was held during his career (there was no game in 1987 or 1995).
  • 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 Dionne.[19]

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[]

  • Captain (ice hockey)
  • Hockey Hall of Fame
  • List of NHL statistical leaders
  • Notable families in the NHL
  • List of NHL players with 1000 assists
  • List of NHL players with 1000 games played


  1. 1.0 1.1 Harding, Thomas (June 10, 2001). "Raymond Bourque timeline". The Gazette (Colorado Springs). http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4191/is_20010610/ai_n9988311. Retrieved 2008-07-21. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Ray Bourque biography". Hockey Hall of Fame. http://www.legendsofhockey.net/LegendsOfHockey/jsp/LegendsMember.jsp?mem=p200401&type=Player&page=bio&list=ByName#photo. Retrieved 2008-07-22. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "NHL & WHA Career Leaders and Records for Plus/Minus". Hockey-Reference.com. http://www.hockey-reference.com/leaders/plus_minus_career.html. Retrieved 2008-07-21. 
  4. Paul Kelly, ed. Hockey Almanac: 1993–94. Lincolnwood, IL: Publications International Ltd. p. 42. OCLC 29917276. 
  5. Ralph Dinger, ed. The National Hockey League Official Guide and Record Book, 1990–91. Philadelphia: Running Press. p. 151. ISBN 0894718703. 
  6. "Say It Ain't So: Boston Bruins". CNN/Sports Illustrated. 9 May 2001. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/hockey/nhl/news/2001/02/15/sayitaintso_bruins/. Retrieved 25 April 2011. 
  7. "Bruins' Marty McSorley charged with assault". CBC News. March 8, 2000. http://www.cbc.ca/sports/story/2000/03/08/s030790.html. 
  8. "NHL brass promises to 're-evaluate' McSorley's career". CBC News. November 11, 2000. Archived from the original on June 28, 2011. http://web.archive.org/web/20110628234003/http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2000/02/23/mcsorelya000223.html. 
  9. Marrapese-Burrell, Nancy (22 February 2000). "Bruins Hit Bottom\ Carter, Dafoe Hurt; McSorley Head-Hunts". The Boston Globe. http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=BG&p_theme=bg&p_action=search&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0EADDE32A40C5D10&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_sort=YMD_date:D. 
  10. Falla, Jack, ed (2001). Quest for the Cup: A History of the Stanley Cup Finals, 1893–2001. Toronto: Key Porter Books. p. 266. ISBN 978-15526-3343-4. 
  11. "L'Agenda Spring-Summer 2008" (PDF). http://saintlaurent.ville.montreal.qc.ca/en/intro/publication/agenda/agendaen20080227.pdf. Retrieved 2008-07-22. 
  12. "Tresca Restaurant". http://www.trescanorthend.com/about.htm. Retrieved 2008-07-22. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 "Kreider, Bourque make final USA cut". New York Rangers. December 22, 2010. http://rangers.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=547060. Retrieved 2010-12-28. 
  14. "Goalscoring Leaders". iihf.com. http://stats.iihf.com/Hydra/205/IHM205000_85C_11_0.pdf. Retrieved 2010-12-28. 
  15. "Player Statistics by Team: USA". iihf.com. http://stats.iihf.com/Hydra/205/IHM2050USA_83_8_0.pdf. Retrieved 2010-12-29. 
  16. "Boxford's Bourque an alternate captain of Team USA; squad is 1-0 at World Junior Hockey Championships". Tri-Town Transcript. December 27, 2010. http://www.wickedlocal.com/boxford/newsnow/x1808784146/Boxfords-Bourque-an-alternate-captain-of-Team-USA-squad-is-1-0-at-World-Junior-Hockey-Championships. Retrieved 2010-12-28. 
  17. "2011 WJC Player Statistics by Team: USA". iihf.com. http://stats.iihf.com/Hydra/236/IHM2360USA_83_6_0.pdf. Retrieved 2010-01-05. 
  18. "Career Shots On Goal leaders". Hockey-Reference.com. http://www.hockey-reference.com/leaders/shots_career.html. Retrieved 2008-07-21. 
  19. Dryden, Steve (1999). The Top 100 NHL Players of All-Time. McClelland & Stewart. ISBN 978-07710-4175-4. 

External links[]

Preceded by
Al Secord
Boston Bruins first round draft pick
Succeeded by
Brad McCrimmon
Preceded by
Terry O'Reilly
Boston Bruins captains
(with Rick Middleton 198588)
Succeeded by
Jason Allison
Preceded by
Chris Chelios
Winner of the Norris Trophy
Succeeded by
Paul Coffey
Preceded by
Chris Chelios
Winner of the Norris Trophy
1990, 1991
Succeeded by
Brian Leetch
Preceded by
Paul Coffey
Winner of the Norris Trophy
1987, 1988
Succeeded by
Chris Chelios
Preceded by
Dave Taylor
Winner of the King Clancy Memorial Trophy
Succeeded by
Dave Poulin
Preceded by
Bobby Smith
Winner of the Calder Memorial Trophy
Succeeded by
Peter Šťastný

cs:Ray Bourque de:Ray Bourque fr:Raymond Bourque lv:Rejs Burks ja:レイモンド・ボーク ru:Бурк, Рэймонд sk:Ray Bourque sl:Ray Bourque fi:Ray Bourque sv:Ray Bourque uk:Реймонд Бурк