If there was ever a lunch bucket story in a Vancouver Canucks Uniform, it would be Alexandre Burrows. His humble beginnings of his professional hockey career to the type of player he has developed into is truly amazing. Gathered from current and former teammates of Burrows, he’s a great guy to have in the dressing and his work ethic on the ice is inspiring to all.
Alex Burrows’ hockey career started off in the QMJHL. He played two seasons of major junior for the Shawinigan Cataractes and when his junior career ended, he found himself undrafted, as many do in the CHL. Undaunted, Burrows goes and tries out for the ECHL and gets on-board with the Greenville Grrrowl, and playing professional hockey in Greenville, SC in 2002-03. It’s not exactly what you can a hockey hotbed, but he was just happy to be playing. He later joined the Columbia Inferno in 2003-04 and recorded 29 goals and 71 points. He finished second on scoring for the Inferno.
That’s when NHL scouts started to take notice of Burrows. The following year, he was signed on a two-way contract with the Vancouver Canucks affiliate, the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League (AHL).
After being on the Manitoba Moose and a call up between Winnipeg, where the Moose play, and Vancouver, Alex Burrows must have shown Coach Alain Vigneault something special to keep him on the roster full time in 2006-07. At that point in his career, Alex Burrows was thrown in the third line as a defensive specialist and also on the penalty kill for the exact same reason.
This past season Burrows started off on the shut down line with line mate Ryan Kesler but has been promoted to the first line with Henrik and Daniel Sedin through his hard work. This shows that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. His agitating style was just what the Sedins needed to create room and scoring chances. He recorded 28 goals in the regular season and 51 points, a NHL career high for the un-drafted winger.
Faced with Tragedy and Adversity
When Luc Bourdon died on May 29th, 2008 in a tragic motorcycle accident, Alex Burrows was probably the most affected out of all his teammates. Burrows was Bourdon’s best friend. In an interview Burrows and his girlfriend, Nancy Roy, gave to Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province on April 15th of this year, he says his best friend Luc Bourdon had a hand in his success this year. I remember Burrows saying that he was dedicating his season to his late best friend.
Burrows could have folded and not had the mental toughness to go on and move forward, but he didn’t. Instead, he paid tribute to Luc by having the season of his career. Shoots some arrows, will ya?
Good Guys Don’t Always Finish Last
From what I have heard, and what I have read, there is no one on the Canucks roster more deserving of the Bill Masterson’s Vancouver Canucks Nominee than Alex Burrows. He plays with heart and determination every single shift. He works on all aspects of his game to improve upon at practice. He is like the “Rudy” of the Vancouver Canucks, but with some talent and a work ethic unmatched on his team.
Despite all that, he throws the praises of his success elsewhere. He thanks Ryan Kesler for showing him determination, Trevor Linden for his professionalism and Roberto Luongo for his leadership. I’m sure those aforementioned players are humbled by the praise given to them by Alex Burrows, no question in my mind.
Burrows is not only a player I would want for my team, but it seems like he would be someone I’d want as my neighbour and my friend. He is a feel good story for the Vancouver Canucks, and hockey all around. How can you not root for this guy to succeed? He’s done everything right just by being Alex Burrows.
Musings From the Mud