On July 6, 2018, Alex Burrows announced to the hockey world that he was retiring from the game after 13 seasons. The truly remarkable thing is that he almost never played a single game in the NHL. His story has been chronicled over the course of his playing days and Canucks fans celebrated his efforts when he was traded to the Senators just over a year ago.
It is inevitable that he will be inducted into the Canucks Ring of Honour and the only real question is how soon that will take place? It has been a pretty eventful offseason already for Canucks fans as Henrik and Daniel Sedin both retired and now Burrows as well. The Sedins will have their numbers raised to the rafters most likely next season and it would be fitting if Burrows saw his name enshrined in Canucks history with the likes of other Canucks legends leading up to the Canucks’ 50th season celebrations.
What really makes Alex Burrows special was the fact he ground away in the ECHL before a chance opportunity put him with the Manitoba Moose of the AHL, from there, he tirelessly worked on becoming a true pro and went from an agitator to the “Third Sedin”. Burrows was involved in many memorable moments with the Canucks, both good and bad, but the slaying of the dragon most likely tops everyone’s list:
Of course, it can’t be forgotten that he scored another significant goal that spring:
These videos have been posted before in the linked Canucks Army article above but as far as Canucks history goes, they’re staples of what this team was able to achieve.
This could be a whole thread of epic Burrows goals, shenanigans, and tear-jerking memories but thankfully if you’re reading this you have a basic understanding of how you can relive the rest of them on the Internet.
A ball hockey beast for the Montreal Red Light before his pro days, he knew what hard work looked like and like every young Canadian dreaming of making the NHL, he got his chance and made the most of it. When you think about it, it’s pretty crazy the way it all played out.
As Alex Burrows departs the NHL for his next career, an assistant coach with the Laval Rocket of the AHL and maybe GM of an NHL team one day, his time on the ice will be cherished. He made you believe that dreams were possible and that hard work, believe or not, actually pays off. Being paired with the Sedins not only made Burrows a household name but it allowed the Sedins to step their game up as well and were eventually recognized as two of the greatest players to ever play the game of hockey.
Burrows had that subtle slyness to him like he shouldn’t be in the NHL but he wasn’t going to tell anyone and he kept plugging away. He closed in on just shy of 1000 games in the NHL, played for Team Canada, and rode shotgun on a line many NHLers could never handle.
I am reminded of the humour of Alex a day after he signed his first contract extension in 2009 when he was doing an autograph signing in the mall I worked at. Being the funny guy I thought I was, I frankly asked him what now seems like a really dumb question “I have to know, how big IS Kesler’s nose in person?” He responded without skipping a beat with a laugh “Oh, it’s huge”.
Many people will have their own stories of the Canucks’ hero but one thing everyone shares is their admiration for what he did for that team.
Alex, what a career you had! Good luck in the next chapter of your life and thanks for being a Canuck.
Cover photo – The Hockey Writers