|Born||December 10, 1981 |
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
|Height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Weight||213 lb (97 kg; 15 st 3 lb)|
Rene Bourque (born Rene Gary Wayne Bourque on December 10, 1981) is a Canadian professional ice hockey left winger who currently plays for the Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey League (NHL).
An undrafted player, Rene was signed by the Chicago Blackhawks as a free agent in 2004 and made his NHL debut in 2005–06.
He spent three years in Chicago before a 2008 trade sent him to the Calgary Flames where he established himself as a key offensive player. He was traded to the Montreal Canadiens for Mike Cammalleri.
Rene is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, where he played four seasons of hockey and served as a co-captain in his senior year. He turned pro in 2004 when he joined the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League (AHL).
Rene won the Dudley "Red" Garrett Memorial Award as the league's rookie of the year in 2004–05 before beginning his NHL career. He has played for the Canadian national team at the 2010 IIHF World Championship.
Of Métis heritage, Rene has initiated several charitable causes dedicated to encouraging aboriginal children and helping youth from rural Northern Alberta afford the cost of playing hockey.
Early Playing Career
Rene joined the Blackhawks to start the 2005–06 season and scored his first NHL goal against goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere in his first game, a 5–3 loss to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.
He finished his rookie season with 16 goals and 34 points, good for fourth place in team scoring.
The Hawks subsequently signed Rene to a two-year contract extension. He endured an injury-plagued season in 2006–07, appearing in only 44 games and scoring 7 goals.
On November 12, 2006, Rene suffered a deep cut to the neck from Nikolai Zherdev's skate during a scrum in the crease in a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Blackhawks announced that he would miss 3–6 weeks following surgery to repair the laceration.
Rene considered himself fortunate that the injury was not worse, stating upon his return to action four weeks later that he might not have survived if the cut was a couple millimetres deeper.
Just over two weeks after his return, Rene was again sidelined when he suffered a cracked bone in his ankle on December 31, 2006. He returned to action on February 21, 2007, after missing nearly two months.
Injuries again hampered Rene in 2007–08. He missed time early in the season with a groin pull and then he was knocked out of the lineup for a month after breaking his thumb in a November game against the Detroit Red Wings.
Rene remained healthy upon his return, finishing the season with 10 goals and 14 assists in 62 games for Chicago.
Rene set career highs of 27 goals and 58 points with the Flames in 2009–10. On July 1, 2008, he was traded to the Calgary Flames in exchange for a second round selection at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
The Flames quickly signed the restricted free agent to a two-year contract. Rene enjoyed a career year in Calgary that included his first hat trick, against the Ottawa Senators, on December 27, 2008.
Rene suffered a high ankle sprain that sidelined him for the final two months of the regular season. Although he was limited to 58 games, he topped the 20-goal plateau for the first time (21) and scored a career high 40 points.
Rene returned in time to play in the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Blackhawks, though he missed one game in the series after re-aggravating the injury. Following the season, he opted for surgery to repair the damage to his ankle.
Rene continued to provide offence for the Flames early in 2009–10; he was leading the Flames in scoring in late November when he was again knocked out of the lineup by an undisclosed injury.
Rene returned to action after two weeks, having missed six games. He remained an offensive catalyst throughout the season, amassing a new career high in goals (27), assists (31) and points (58) and a +7 rating.
Following the season, Rene was invited to play for Team Canada at the 2010 IIHF World Championship. He scored one goal and one assist in seven games for the seventh-place Canadians.
Signing Rene to a six-year contract extension worth $3.3 million per season in February of 2010, the Flames looked to him to be a top player for the organization.
Though prone to inconsistent play, he was considered one of the Flames' top offensive threats, and a player looked at as potentially succeeding captain Jarome Iginla as the team's scoring leader.
Rene played in the 2011 Heritage Classic, scoring two goals in a 4–0 win over the Montreal Canadiens and finished the season second on the team with 27 goals.
Rene was a frequent lightning rod for attention in 2011–12. Following a slow start to his season offensively, He was criticized on national television by Hockey Night in Canada commentator Kelly Hrudey who questioned the player's dedication and suggested that Rene didn't care about the game.
Rene expressed his offence at Hrudey's comments while his teammates spoke out in his defence. He was then suspended twice within a month for illegal hits.
On December 19, 2011, Rene received a two-game ban on December 19, 2011, for a check from behind against Chicago's Brent Seabrook. He later received a five-game suspension for an elbow to the head of Washington's Nicklas Backstrom. It was the last game he played with the Flames.
Combined between Calgary and Montreal, Rene's 18 goals and 24 points were his lowest totals in four seasons.
Rene's start to the 2012–13 season was delayed by injury after he suffered an abdominal wall tear during off-season training that required surgery to repair it.
|1999–00||St. Albert Saints||AJHL||63||44||41||85||113||—||—||—||—||—|
Awards & Achievements
- AJHL All-Rookie Team (1999–00)
American Hockey League (AHL)
- Dudley "Red" Garrett Memorial Award (2004–05)
- AHL All-Rookie Team (2004-05)
Rene is of Métis heritage. His mother Barbara is a social worker in Lac La Biche and his father Wayne works in the Canadian oil patch near Fort McMurray. He has a fraternal twin sister named Chantal and two older sisters named Kim & Nadia (who are fraternal twins as well). His first cousin Wayne Bourque is a three-time North American boxing champion.
Rene's family returned in Lac La Biche when Bourque was seven. As his father was sometimes away from home for weeks at a time due to his job, his mother raised the kids while also studying for her diploma in social work and later working full-time for the Alberta Government.
Rene's parents encouraged him in hockey and after a season of minor hockey in Fort McMurray, he attended the Athol Murray College of Notre Dame south of Regina, Saskatchewan where he was an honours student.
Rene was recruited to play major junior hockey for the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League (WHL), though he declined to join the Blades as it would have cost him his eligibility to play for a National Collegiate Athletic Association school.
Rene felt that his education was paramount and it wasn't until he had earned a full scholarship to play at the University of Wisconsin–Madison that he believed he could make a career in hockey. At Wisconsin, he earned a degree in Consumer Behaviour and Business.
Rene has been involved in many charitable endeavours both in Calgary and Lac La Biche. He started the Rene Bourque Hockey Fund with the goal of providing hockey equipment to underprivileged kids and has appeared as a spokesman for Native Americans in sport at youth symposiums.
His fund led to the donation of 50 sets of equipment to underprivileged children in Northern Alberta during the 2008–09 season and over 100 sets in 2010–11.
Also in 2010–11, Rene started a program called "Bourque's Buddies" that rewards kids from the Tsuu T'ina Nation who have made positive contributions in their schools with tickets to Flames games.