Flashback: Bruins retire Ray Bourque's No. 77 OTD (VIDEO)

No. 77 was forever raised to the rafters in Boston on this date in 2001.


Legendary Boston Bruins defenseman Ray Bourque had his jersey forever lifted to the rafters of the then-named Fleet Center (now TD Garden) in Boston on this date in 2001.

Of course, Bourque was only a few months removed from his first career Stanley Cup victory, a feat he accomplished as a member of the Colorado Avalanche whom the Bruins had traded him to at the 2000 NHL Trade Deadline. 

"It is so good to be home," Bourque told the sold out crowd on October 4, 2001. 

"I am so disappointed that I could not win a Stanley Cup here for you. But the bottom line is: This is my home. This is where I really belong."

Bourque's No. 77 was the eight jersey number in Bruins history to be retired, following Shore (2), Lionel Hitchman (3), Orr (4), Dit Clapper (5), Phil Esposito (7), John Bucyk (9) and Milt Schmidt (15). He accomplished nearly everything that a hockey defenseman could dream of during his 20 years in Boston, winning the James Norris Memorial Trophy as the League's top blue liner five times, leading the Bruins in nearly every statistical category, and leading them to the playoffs every season but one.

He would be dealt to the contending Avalanche in March of 2000 when it was clear that the Bruins wouldn't qualify for the playoffs. Bourque would re-sign with the Avalanche that summer, and the elusive goal was finally accomplished in a thrilling seven game series win over the New Jersey Devils. The image of Avs captain Joe Sakic immediately handing the Stanley Cup to Bourque after receiving it from commissioner Gary Bettman will go down as one of hockey's greatest moments. 

"I won a Cup," he said prior to the ceremony. "But winning a Cup in Boston, winning here would have been real special. I could just imagine the fun we would have had."

Of course, the Bruins would eventually get back to the promised land 10 years later with a seven game victory over the Vancouver Canucks in June of 2011. 

"It's a jersey that I wore with pride and loved to wear for a long time," Bourque said. "To be part of among that group that is up there is so special."