Hockey

Bourque ready to retire: report

With his Stanley Cup mission accomplished, Ray Bourque has apparently decided to hang up his skates.

The Denver Post, citing anonymous sources, reported Tuesday that Bourque will not be back with the Colorado Avalanche next year, choosing instead to retire after 22 Hall-of-Fame seasons.

"When I signed here last year, I said I had some unfinished business," said Bourque, who before winning the Stanley Cup on Saturday had appeared in a record 1,826 games without winning a championship.

"I think the mission has been completed."

According to the newspaper, Bourque wants to quit hockey to spend more time with his family. By retiring, the 40-year-old would give up the option year on his contract worth $6.5 million US.

A five-time Norris Trophy winner as the NHL's top defenceman, Bourque spent his first 20 1/2 seasons with the Boston Bruins and made two Stanley Cup appearances.

Fifteen months ago, Bourque agreed to a trade to the Avalanche for another chance to win an elusive championship.

"It's not the easiest thing to play when you're 40 years old," Bourque said on Monday at the team's championship parade in Denver. "It takes a lot of energy. It has been great. I've enjoyed it.

"I've got to see if the fire, the passion and everything you need to be successful playing this game is going to be there. If I decide it is, then I'll continue. And if I feel that it's going to be tough, then we'll see what we do."

In the Stanley Cup Finals, Bourque and defence partner Adam Foote played nearly 30 minutes a game and mostly against New Jersey's top line of Jason Arnott, Patrik Elias and Petr Sykora. So despite his age, Bourque showed he has more than plenty left in the tank if he decides to return.

"The way he played, he could play another five years," said Avalanche defenceman Rob Blake.