Chris Bourque starts WJC tourney well

By Simon Richard

2005 Prospects: Alex Bourret

Chris Bourque had success in his first game on
the USA U-20 team, scoring a power play goal en route to a 5-4 USA victory over
Russia on December 25th in front of a wild local crowd shouting
‘USA, USA, USA’ all game long.

The Boston University Terriers freshman had good company on ice for this
classic USA-Russia match-up with such players as Russians Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni
and teammates Phil
, Ryan Suter
and Al Montoya just to name a few.

Bourque, an 18-year-old forward, recorded three shots on goal and
didn’t look bad at all in this emotional game played at a huge tempo with
a lot of intensity demonstrated from both teams.

"It is a great honor to play for your
country," Bourque told Hockey’s Future in the Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand
before the game.

"It is an unbelievable experience, we are
having a blast so far."

Drafted by the Caps he has chosen the NCAA option

Bourque graduated from Cushing Academy in Belmont,
, where he played prep
school hockey for three years. In 2003-04, he was named the New England prep school
MVP and grabbed a place in the New England
prep school honors for the second year in a row.

The 5’9, 178-pound center was selected by the Washington Capitals
in the second round (33rd overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

"It was amazing, I was thrilled and very
surprised to have been selected at this rank. I was taken by a great organization,
I’m proud to be part of it."

"I’m keeping in touch with them [the Caps] probably once in a
month but it is only conversations, nothing serious."

Bourque has four goals and
nine assists for 13 points so far in 16 games with the Terriers in the Hockey
East Conference.


"We have a good team,”
he said. “The speed of the game is a little different than in high
school. It is more physical too, but I am adapting to this level,"
commented Bourque.  

He could have played in the CHL but opted for the NCAA. "I did not
really consider the CHL option," he said, adding that he likes very much
where he is right now.

It is well known in the world of hockey that Quebec Remparts
owner and General Manager Patrick Roy is a close friend of Ray Bourque. It is
also well known that Roy
likes to include Americans in his club which has seven American born players
this season.

"Patrick Roy tried to put in his word for me. Was he just joking? I
don’t know,” said Bourque.   

French roots

Born on January 29th, 1986 the son of Christiane
and NHL Hall of Fame defenseman Ray told HF that he can understand the French
language but admitted he can not speak the native language of his parents.

"All my aunts, uncles and grandparents are from Montreal so we are there all the time. Usually,
we are in Montreal
during Christmas and it will be sad not being there with them this

The role of his father

As to the role of his father
in his life on and off the ice, "Everything that I know about hockey is
from him," explained the young Bourque. "When he played for the
Boston Bruins, I was around the ice rink all the time just watching him play
and seeing all those players practicing. It helped me a lot."


"Off the ice, everything
I have learned and done so far is from my parents, my mom and my dad. They are
great parents. They have taught me to be determined to reach my goals."

On being compared with his father

Being the son of such a great
and famous hockey player could have its positive impacts but also some negative
ones. When asked if questions were often raised about his father, Chris Bourque
answered, "I hear it all the time."


Does it bother him was he
asked? "I don’t really think about it that much," he stated.


"Obviously, there are
going be people watching me because of the name on my back. I’m not my dad, I have my own style of play. I have to make my own name
myself. I think that I have done a good job so far.”


Having been selected in the
U-20 USA team despite his small size is an indication of this fact.


"To me, he is one of the
most instinctive hockey player I have seen,” the U-20 USA coach and
former professional player Scott Sandelin told
Hockey’s Future.


"He can contribute
offensively. He is not really big, but he plays a lot bigger than a 5’9
hockey player," added Sandelin. 


Bourque commented on his own
future, "Hopefully, I can win this tournament and we will see what will
happen next. I hope to play hockey for a long time."



Richard is the author of La Serie du
siecle, Septembre 1972, a
book about the Summit
Series published in 2002.
Copyright 2004 Hockey’s Future. Do not duplicate without permission of
the editorial staff.