HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) – The Hershey Bears announced that Chris Bourque will have his number 17 retired in an on-ice ceremony prior to the club’s home game versus the Springfield Thunderbirds on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023.

Bourque will become the eighth player in franchise history to have his number retired. Bourque’s 17 becomes the fifth number in team history to hang from the rafters. 

“I am honored and humbled to have 17 retired in Hershey and join the legendary group of numbers hanging in the rafters,” said Bourque. “Words cannot describe how excited I am to see everyone for this special night on Jan. 14, and I look forward to celebrating with all of you.” 

Further details regarding this special evening, known as Chris Bourque Jersey Retirement Night, will be released at a future date.

“Chris Bourque is one of the greatest players to ever wear the Chocolate and White, and it’s only fitting that his number 17 be raised to the rafters among the finest players in our organization’s rich history,” said vice president of hockey operations Bryan Helmer. “Chris is synonymous with the success the Bears enjoyed during his playing days, and the impact he had in Chocolatetown is timeless. We’re excited to be able to honor his legacy with his friends, family, and our fans on Jan. 14.” 

Bourque played nine seasons with Hershey, and the Boston native ranks fifth all-time in team history in scoring, collecting 586 points (196g, 390a) over 604 regular season games. Bourque helped Hershey to three Calder Cup titles (2006, 2009, 2010), earning the distinction of being the only person in franchise history to claim three championships as a player. He is the franchise’s all-time leader in playoff scoring (86 points) and playoff games played (106), and his 82 career playoff assists are the most by any player in league history.

Bourque won the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as the AHL’s Playoff MVP in 2010, collecting 27 points (7g, 20a) in 21 postseason games as Hershey ended a historic 60-win season with the organization’s 11th Calder Cup title. He won the AHL’s scoring title with Hershey in 2012 and 2016, making him the only player in franchise history to claim this distinction twice. He was named the AHL’s MVP for the 2015-16 campaign when he posted 80 points (30g, 50a), helping Hershey to the 2016 Calder Cup Finals, marking the fifth time he appeared in the league’s championship series. 

The long-time Hershey alternate captain was a six-time AHL All-Star, including representing Hershey five times. As a member of the Bears, he was selected as the Eastern Conference playing captain at the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic. He was twice named a 1st Team AHL All-Star with the Bears, accomplishing this feat in 2012 and 2016, in addition to earning the same distinction with Hartford in 2015. 

While a member of the Bears, Bourque represented Team USA at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, collecting two assists in five games. 

Bourque ranks 20th all-time in AHL history in scoring in his illustrious career. He collected 746 points (251g, 495a) in 794 career games played over parts of 13 AHL seasons from 2005-19 with Hershey, Providence, Hartford, and Bridgeport. Bourque concluded his playing career with ERC Ingolstadt in the DEL this past season, collecting 45 points (17g, 28a) in 52 games. 

The last time Hershey honored a player with a number retirement came in 2002 when the organization added Ralph Keller’s name to the number 3 banner, previously hung in 1991 to honor the legendary Frank Mathers. Bourque’s number 17 will join Mike Nykoluk’s number 8 as the only two numbers retired by the Bears for a single player. 

Hershey forward Mike Sgarbossa, who has worn the number 17 since 2018, will change his number prior to Chris Bourque Jersey Retirement Night.