HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) — While the present day Hershey Bears are still basking in the glory of their first Calder Cup since 2010, a member of those 2006, 2009 and 2010 championship teams got to relive the glory days.
Chris Bourque took the ice at the Giant Center for the first time since he was wearing the chocolate and white back in 2018, this time for the 3ICE League. The brand new three on three hockey league boasts big names both on the ice and on the sidelines, with Chris’ father Ray Bourque coaching his son.
Bourque spoke before the 3ICE games about how exciting it was to get back to Hershey and take the ice again after the Bears raised his jersey to the rafters earlier this season.
“Obviously love coming back to Hershey any chance I get,” Bourque said. “I got the opportunity to play here at 3ICE and I knew that Hershey was one of the stops so kind of a no brainer for me.”
“Brought the family up early in the week and enjoyed a little bit of Hershey and obviously excited for the game,” Bourque said. “Put up two banners this year, I was happy to be a part of one of them and obviously still so many ties to Hershey so I was very happy and excited to see them win.”
“This team knows how to celebrate a Calder Cup so for them to be able to do that a couple weeks ago again was very fun to see,” Bourque said.
As for the league itself, it’s the second year in a row 3ICE has come to Hershey, but the first time featuring a familiar name for Bears fans like Bourque. It’s a unique setup, taking one of the most exciting new aspects of hockey — the three on three — and blending it with some original rules to make the game as fast paced and fun as possible.
Founder and CEO EJ Johnston is excited about the league’s potential as they travel the country from arena to arena and continue to grow.
“First and foremost this is about skill speed and creativity so guys can showcase that talent, that’s the number one thing,” Johnston said. “Then you have these hall of fame coaches, that’s a big name that you have.”
“Now you’re starting to get guys that 250, 300 games under their belts for the NHL. Brandon Pirri, you’ve got Chris Bourque obviously,” Johnston said. “So you’ve got a lot of great talent coming in.”
“Eventually we’re going to get those guys stepping right out of the NHL and saying I don’t want to give up the game, and this is the perfect fit for them,” Johnston. “We’ll get them eventually, we’re doing it the right way.”