The Hall of Fame career of Ray Bourque is well documented. The NHL’s all-time leading scorer amongst defensemen had a legendary 21 year career that culminated in a Stanley Cup championship with the Colorado Avalanche in 2001. Bourque will unquestionably go down in history as a Boston Bruin, but his career highlight came with the Avs when captain Joe Sakic FINALLY handed over the Cup to Bourque and gave us one of the greatest moments in sports history:
But here’s the thing… it almost never happened…
On yesterday’s Spittin’ Chiclets podcast Bourque shared an incredible story of how the deal between the Bruins and Avs went down and how he nearly ended up a member of the Philadelphia Flyers.
Check it out:
“I had decided to ask for a trade and I’m really good buddies with Reggie Lemelin who was the goalie coach with Philly. I was looking at teams who would give me a really good chance of winning in the East, I didn’t want to go to the Western Conference for travel and for the situation I was in with my house and family…”
“I kind of looked at it, Philly was going really well at the time. And I knew that Philly was very interested because of my relationship with Reggie. We played Philly on a Saturday afternoon, it was by last game with the Bruins, and Reggie tells me it’s a done deal in the morning. I think after that game, I’m leaving with Philly and I’m on my way. I play the game, pick up the puck at the end and head to the room thinking I’m just gonna wait to hear from Harry (Sinden) and Harry was telling me that something was going to happen pretty quick.”
“I’m trying to reach Harry after the game, can’t reach him. And then he finally calls me later that night and says that I’m gonna have to sit tight and that there’s other teams involved. I’m like, ‘Well, you know where I wanna go…,’”
Enter the Avs:
“So then Patrick’s (Roy) calling me, Celine Dion’s husband is calling me… so then my wife and I are looking at different schedules… trying to figure out wherever I end up. Later on that night I get a call from Harry and he tells me I’m going to Colorado. Patrick calls me from Calgary and he’s got Adam Foote, Joe Sakic, Dave Reid and Shjon Podein on the phone and they’re all excited and that was it.”
You may recall that that Flyers team was absolutely STACKED, as well with Eric Lindros, John LeClair, Mark Recchi up front and Eric Desjardins on defence. They were already a Cup contender to begin with, but adding Bourque to the roster may have put them over the top. As it was, Bourque ended up in Denver and the rest is history.