The Washington Capitals, parent club of the AHL’s Hershey Bears, have signed forward Chris Bourque to a two-year contract.
Bourque has played 392 of his 510 career regular-season AHL games with the Chocolate and White, which ranks 25th in all-time Hershey history. An incredible point-per-game average during his tenure places Bourque in a tie for 14th in all-time Bears scoring with 393 points (131 goals, 262 assists). He raised the Calder Cup three times in his career, all with the Bears, in 2006, 2009 and in 2010 — earning the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as playoff MVP in 2010.
While playing with the Bears, the 5-foot-8, 170-pound winger led the AHL in assists (66) in the 2011-12 season, and tacked on 27 goals to earn the John B. Sollenberger Trophy as the league’s leading point producer (93).
"[Hershey] is where I spent a majority of my career, and obviously I feel very comfortable playing there," Bourque said. "It’s a big thrill for me and my family because it is such a great town, and with the fans, there is not a better place to play in the American League."
The 29-year-old native of Boston comes back to Hershey after spending the 2014-15 season with the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack. He led the Wolf Pack in all statistics with 29 goals, 37 assists and 66 points — good for fifth in the AHL in scoring — and then paced the team with 17 points (four goals, 13 assists) in 15 playoff games as Hartford reached the Eastern Conference Finals. Bourque participated in the 2015 AHL All-Star Classic, his third All-Star appearance, and was named a First Team AHL All-Star for the second time in his career.
Bourque will enter the 2015-16 season one point away from becoming the 89th member of the AHL’s 500-point club. He currently has 171 goals and 328 assists for 499 points in 510 regular-season games with Hartford, Providence, Hershey and Portland. Bourque has also skated in 100 career postseason games — one of 17 players to reach that plateau — and ranks fifth all-time with 70 assists and seventh with 95 points in his Calder Cup Playoff career.
Bourque was originally selected by Washington in the second round (33rd overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. He has recorded two goals and six assists in 51 career NHL games with Washington, Pittsburgh and Boston.