Bourque's advice for Iginla

Ray Bourque speaks with the media during a press conference in Calgary, Alta., Nov. 8, 2011. (JIM...

Ray Bourque speaks with the media during a press conference in Calgary, Alta., Nov. 8, 2011. (JIM WELLS/QMI Agency)

ERIC FRANCIS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:36 AM ET

CALGARY - If anyone in the hockey world knows a thing or two about the decision Jarome Iginla will soon be facing, its Ray Bourque.

Having played his entire career with the club he was sure hed retire with, Bourque asked for a trade out of Boston 11 years ago to pursue his first Stanley Cup elsewhere.

What followed was a Colorado Avalanche Cup hoisting few hockey fans will ever forget.

While there is a growing faction of fans in Calgary who believe Iginla will soon have to make a similar move if hes ever going to challenge for the Stanley Cup, the Flames captain insists hes happy and committed to winning here.

Funny, as Bourque said he once felt the same way in a scenario that was strikingly similar to Iginlas.

It was very hard to leave because I always said that I would never leave Boston, said Bourque, 50, in Calgary to be inducted Tuesday into Canadas Sports Hall of Fame.

The reason I left was because it wasnt a healthy situation at all. It was time. In some ways, I dont think it was a fair situation to be in after all those years. I was 38 years old, and I was affected mentally by the situation, and I needed to get into a better situation if I was going to continue playing. I wanted to get back into the playoffs and compete for a Cup, but that wasnt going to happen in Boston and hadnt happened for quite awhile.

In Bourques case, the Bruins had won just one playoff series in his previous five seasons and were heading towards another post-season miss. The Flames have escaped the first round just once since 1989 and have missed the playoffs two straight years.

I cant speak for anybody else, but when youre in a situation and you know its time or its the right thing to do you do it, said Bourque, who lives just north of Boston.

Its different for everybody.

Would the Hall of Famer have regretted saying goodbye to Boston had he not won in Colorado the following year?

Before I left, they talked about how I was a great player and had done this and done that and theyd say, But youve never won a Cup, recalled Bourque.

Id be foolin if I told you that but never burned my butt. Its good that they cant say that anymore because theres so much that goes into it and so many things have to go right. To put that on anybody that hasnt won a Cup is so tough.

Thats the scenario the 34-year-old Iginla is staring down. With no Cups in 17 years in Calgary, hell soon have to ask himself if the organization will give him a legit title shot in the next handful of years.

Im not saying anybody should do anything if hes happy here and feels right about the situation, thats great, said Bourque of Iginla, who would obviously be worried a trade demand would tarnish the iconic name hes earned here.

For me, I always thought I was (happy) and Id never leave. But you know, I left something pretty special and never thought Id do it. For me, it was always about treating people the way I wanted to be treated doing it the right way and working hard and being a good teammate and respecting the game and respecting everything around it.

If you do things the right way, how can things go wrong? I think it was shown when I came back to Boston people appreciated how things were done.

Indeed, the mayor of Boston and the Bruins threw Bourque a homecoming party following his 2001 Stanley Cup win. The fest was attended by 50,000 people.

I was welcomed back with open arms it was really an incredible feeling, said Bourque, well aware Iginla is beloved in Calgary for many of the same reasons.

It was the mutual respect the fans and I shared. They really appreciated the way I went about my business and how I played.

In short, no regrets.

It was a great experience, seeing something else, playing for a great organization and winning a Cup it was something Ill remember forever. It was an experience I wished I couldve lived in Boston.

But it was clear that wasnt going to be possible.

So he did something about it.

Iginla has to be wondering if one day he should, too.

eric.francis@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/ericfrancis

Eric Francis appears regularly as a panellist on CBCs Hockey Night in Canada.


Videos

Photos