(courtesy of © Reuters/ Mike Cassese)
One of hockey’s most exciting players to don a pair of skates will be forever be immortalized today in Toronto as Pavel Bure becomes a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Known around the NHL as the “Russian Rocket” Bure played 13 seasons in the NHL where he spent time with the Vancouver Canucks, Florida Panthers, and New York Rangers.
Born in Moscow, Bure came to the Vancouver Canucks in 1991 after the team had to pay the Soviet Ice Hockey Federation $250,000 to allow Bure play in the NHL. Bure would then sign a four-year contract worth a reported $2.7 million with an $800,000 signing bonus soon thereafter. The deal made Bure the Canucks’ second highest paid player behind team captain Trevor Linden. Bure would go on to score 60 points in his rookie season despite missing a month due to court proceedings and would tie the team record for most points by a rookie. He would also claim the Calder Memorial Trophy becoming the first Canuck to do so.
Bure would score 60 goals the following two seasons becoming just the eighth player in NHL history to accomplish that feat. In his time with the Canucks, Bure scored 254 goals with 478 points before being traded to the Florida Panthers in 1999. With the Panthers Bure would continue his scoring knack while battling constant injuries reaching the 50 goal plateau twice as well as reuniting with his brother Valeri. The two would break the single-season goal mark for two brothers set by Bobby and Dennis Hull with a combined total of 89 in their first season together.
Bure would leave the Panthers third all-time in goals with 152 along with 251 points. He would be traded to the New York Rangers in 2002 where he would score 31 goals in just 51 games due to injury. He would retire due to a chronic knee injury in 2005 with a total of 437 goals and 332 assists in 702 games. Bure led the league three times in scoring and is 3rd all-time in Russian born players in goals and 7th in points.
With his induction Bure becomes the fourth Russian to enter the Hall of Fame. He is already a member of the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame. His number is set to be retired by the Canucks whenever the NHL returns from its ever lasting lockout. Let’s remember some of his greatest moments below as his legend will be cemented today forever.