One of Canada’s top hockey exports has been named as the honorary Chairman of the United States Senior Open Championship.
Longtime Boston Bruin Ray Bourque, 56, will take on the role as the championship is played nearby his adopted hometown this June 29-July 2, 2017 at the Salem Country Club, in Peabody, Massachusetts. It is his home club.
The Quebec native, one of the best defensemen to ever play the game during more than two decades with the Bruins, is being recognized for his Hall of Fame level talents with the role at the 38th playing of the U.S. Senior Open Championship.
“Being named honorary chairman of the 2017 U.S. Senior Open is a thrill for me,” said Bourque, who received the 2003 Lester Patrick Award for outstanding service to hockey in the United States. “I’ve been playing golf most of my life and have been a member at Salem Country Club for 25 years. Every round there is special. I love the game and its traditions and I’m looking forward to helping with the championship and being associated with the very best senior players in the world.
“I’ve worked with kids my whole career and one of the great benefits of this event is kids 17 years old and under get in free with a ticketed adult. That’s an opportunity for a lot of young people to see some of the top golfers in the history of the game on one of the best Donald Ross courses up close and in person.”
Bourque’s involvement in golf extends to many celebrity tournament appearances and even his own event. Each year his golf tournament raises money for the Celebrities for Charity Foundation. It is an organization he co-founded two decades ago with former teammate Cleon Daskalakis.
“Ray Bourque is one of hockey’s greatest players and his name is synonymous with the Boston Bruins and sports in New England,” said Stuart Francis, USGA Championship Committee chairman. “He has also served the game of golf, been active with charities in his community and will be a respected ambassador of this year’s U.S. Senior Open.”
Bourque, who was born in Saint-Laurent, Quebec, and was selected eighth overall in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft by the Bruins, collected 410 goals and 1,169 assists for 1,579 points in 1,612 regular-season games. His assists total is fourth all-time behind Wayne Gretzky, Ron Francis and Messier. Bourque’s five Norris Trophies rank behind only fellow Bruins’ legend Bobby Orr (8), Nicklas Lidstrom (7) and Doug Harvey (7).
Bourque was the longest-serving captain of the Bruins, a 12-year span. From his spot on the Boston blue line, he led the franchise to two conference titles, five division crowns, and one President’s Trophy for most points in a season. In 214 NHL playoff games, Bourque accounted for 180 points, with 41 goals and 139 assists. His jersey number, 77, was retired by both the Bruins and the Colorado Avalanche, where h completed his playing career.
“In addition to being a hockey Hall of Fame inductee, Ray Bourque is a valued member of Salem Country Club and is extraordinarily generous with his time and talents, which he shares with numerous North Shore charities,” said William H. Sheehan III, general chairman of the 2017 U.S. Senior Open. “Ray will be active in the lead-up to the Senior Open, which includes hosting a junior clinic during championship week. We look forward to working closely with Ray as the club prepares to welcome the golf world to Salem Country Club in just a few short months.”