The Vancouver Canucks announced Tuesday night what had been hinted at last spring: they will retire Pavel Bure’s No. 10 jersey and hang it next season from the rafters at Rogers Arena.
Bure joins former captains Stan Smyl, Trevor Linden and Markus Naslund in the elite group that have had their jersey numbers retired. No actual date was given for the ceremony.
The groundwork for the jersey retirement was laid last April 4 when Bure made a surprise visit to Vancouver, did some promotional work and then received a standing ovation later that night when he attended the Canucks’-Edmonton Oilers’ game at Rogers Arena.
“It’s a huge honour,” Bure told reporters Tuesday night after appearing at a Canuck season-ticket holder’s event.
“I’m just really proud and happy to be next to Stan Smyl, who I just saw today. We were talking about how we started together (in 1991), me as a player and he was starting as assistant coach. It just brings lots of good memories to be next to those great guys.”
Bure played seven seasons for the Canucks, was NHL rookie of the year in 1991-92, scored 60 goals twice and then 51 in his final season with the team. However, his relationship with management had soured and he withheld services to start the 1998-99 campaign to back a trade demand. He still had one year left on his contract.
He was eventually dealt to the Florida Panthers on Jan. 17, 1999, in a blockbuster trade that involved seven players and two draft picks.
Asked if he was surprised it took this long for the Canucks to retire his jersey, Bure deftly stickhandled around the question, just as he did to his many opponents on the ice.
“I’m just happy with what I have now,” he replied. “I’m happy and really proud. I’m thrilled.”
Bure, now 42, said his memories in Vancouver were too numerous to list when asked to name just three.
“I have great memories but it’s really hard to choose only three,” he responded. “There were so many of them. My first game, my first goal, and obviously in 1994 when we went to the final. I can keep going and going so it would take a long time.”
Canuck GM Mike Gillis was Bure’s agent for the latter portion of his career and, not surprisingly, heartily endorsed the jersey retirement.
“I don’t think there is anybody as deserving to be honoured in Vancouver for what he did for this organization and for what he did to make this team relevant,” Gillis said.
On a social note, Bure became a father three months ago and named his son — are you ready for this?— Pavel Bure Jr. Obviously his old Canuck pal Gino Odjick, who named one of his sons after Pavel, will have to wait another day.
BURE QUICKLY MADE AN IMPRESSION WITH CANUCK FANS
The Vancouver Canucks confirmed Tuesday night during their annual fan summit they will retire Pavel Bure’s No. 10 jersey this coming National Hockey League season. General manager Mike Gillis said the exact date for the ceremony hasn’t been finalized and hoped to share that information “in about a month or so.”
Here’s a look at the Russian Rocket’s seven seasons with the club:
June 17, 1989: Drafted by Canucks in sixth round, 113th overall.
Oct. 31, 1991: Signs four-year, $2.7 million contract with team.
Nov. 3, 1991: Joins team for practice at Britannia Arena and 2,000 fans show up, the first sign of ‘Pavelmania.’
Nov. 5, 1991: Makes NHL debut against Winnipeg Jets, While he doesn’t score, he immediately earns the Russian Rocket nickname for his breath-taking end-to-end rushes.
Nov. 12, 1991: Scores first two NHL goals in an 8-2 romp over the Los Angeles Kings.
April 16, 1992: Finishes first season with 34 goals and 60 points in 65 games played.
April 28, 1992: Nets his first NHL hat trick in Game 6 of the opening playoff round against Winnipeg Jets.
June 16, 1992: Wins Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year, first and only Canuck to capture the prestigious award.
Oct. 12, 1992: Nets first four-goal game against Jets in 8-1 win.
March 1, 1993: Hits 50-goal mark, becoming first Canuck to do so.
April 15, 1993: Finishes season with club record 60 goals and club record 110 points.
April 13, 1994: Posts second consecutive 60-goal season despite missing eight games with groin injury. His 60 goals leads the league.
April 30, 1994: Scores double overtime Game 7 series-winning goal against Calgary Flames in opening playoff round, one of the most memorable goals in team history.
June 16, 1994: Signs new five-year contract for $24.5 million.
May 19, 1995: Nets seven goals and 12 points (both club records) in opening-round playoff series against St. Louis Blues, which the Canucks won in seven games.
Nov. 9, 1995: Suffers first major knee injury, tearing ACL in Chicago when checked by Blackhawk defenceman Steve Smith. Misses remainder of season.
April 12, 1996: After playing through neck and head injuries for much of the season, finishes with just 23 goals in 63 games.
Aug. 26, 1997: Reports surface that he’s unhappy in Vancouver and would like to be traded.
April 19, 1998: Finishes seventh and final Canuck season with 51 goals and 254 in his career. Still has one year left on contract but rumours circulate he won’t be back.
Aug. 2, 1998: Goes public with trade demand, saying he feels “it’s time to move.”
Aug. 3, 1998: New Canuck GM Brian Burke agrees to trade him but threatens suspension if deal not in place by opening night.
Oct. 12, 1998: Bure doesn’t report and is suspended by Burke as 1998-99 season opens.
Jan. 17, 1999: After sitting out three months, traded to Florida Panthers along with Bret Hedican, Brad Ference and a third-round pick for Ed Jovanovski, Kevin Weekes, Dave Gagner, Mike Brown and a first-round pick (Nathan Smith).
Nov. 1, 2005: Announces retirement after being inactive for two years because of recurring knee problems.
June 27, 2012: Elected to Hockey Hall of Fame along with Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin and Adam Oates.
April 4, 2013: Returns to Vancouver in fence-mending exercise, makes public appearances and gets standing ovation from fans during game against Oilers.
July 23, 2013: Team announces his No. 10 jersey will be retired this coming NHL season. Date to be finalized in coming months.
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