Pavel Bure was one of the most adored Vancouver Canucks players in the teams history, this week on Where Are They Now? We look at what he has been up to since he tore up the ice in Vancouver.
day one in Vancouver, Bure had the ability to make fans stand from their seats with his astounding speed, skill and avid personality.
Born in Moscow, Bure had a fairly tough upbringing. His parents got divorced at an early age, and he was unable to break into the hockey scene until his teens. While his aim when he was little was to play hockey, Bure never got the chance until he was 12. Up until that point he had only played street hockey, and had had a failed tryout with CSKA Moscow’s junior team.
Although cut originally, he made the team just months later and began his rapid ascension through the Soviet hockey hierarchy. By age 14, he was selected by the Soviet junior team, and first travelled to North America as part of that. Interestingly, Bure actually played at the Pacific Coliseum for the junior team, five years before he made his debut for the Canucks.
Bure’s junior career was very successful, yet brief.
By age 16 he had signed his first professional contract with CSKA Moscow, and began a superstar four-year stint with the Russian club. In his rookie season he only played five games, although he scored on his debut and showed the tantalizing potential of what he could become.
In his final season with CSKA he led the team in goals with 35, and vaulted himself to the top of the NHL entry draft projections. Throughout his time in the KHL. he played alongside fellow future NHL stars such as Sergei Fedorov, and future Canucks teammates Alexander Mogilny and Igor Larionov.
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The 1989 NHL entry draft changed the fortunes of the Vancouver Canucks when they picked Bure in the sixth round.
Sixth round? Yes, Bure was picked in the sixth round with the 113th overall selection. The pick was questionable, since there was a chance he would decide not to play in the NHL. Teams were nervous to draft the Russian superstar.
Not the Canucks though, as they gambled their selection and boy, did that gamble pay off.
Bure made his Canucks debut in the 1991-92 season, and launched one of the most successful eras in Vancouver hockey history. At the time of his signing, he immediately became the second highest paid player on the team, trailing behind team captain Trevor Linden.
In only his first few games, he displayed his speed and skill; earning immediate comparisons to Maurice “Rocket” Richard. Due to these comparisons, he quickly became known by fans as the Russian rocket, and launched the Canucks to years of hockey success.
Bure played for the Canucks for seven seasons before finishing off his career with the Florida Panthers and New York Rangers. He scored 437 goals through 702 NHL games, alongside 342 assists. He was also the first Canuck to hit the 50 goal mark, and led the team to the 1994 Stanley Cup Final. The Russian Rocket’s career fizzled out due to lockouts and injuries, as he retired prior to the 2005 NHL season.
On the personal side, Bure married American fashion model Jayme Bohn, although the marriage was short. Bure eventually ended up marrying his longtime girlfriend Alina Khasanova after he retired, together they have had two children; Pavel Jr. and Palina.
While both children are still young, it is too young to consider them prospects, although Pavel Jr has recently begun to play hockey, so maybe one day. However, it is a long way off from the possibility of seeing another Bure in a Canucks jersey.
After his retirement, Pavel Sr. was not very involved with the Canucks. That is until he returned to Vancouver in 2013 to have his number retired by the Canucks. Although the honour was special, it was not the first recognition he received in North America. In 2012 Bure became the fifth Russian, and first Vancouver Canuck to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
When he had his number 10 raised to the rafters of Rogers Arena, he became the third Canuck of that era to have his number retired. With that ceremony, it likely spelled the end of that era of Canucks hockey being formally honoured in Vancouver.
Bure’s departure from the Canucks was a rocky one. There was a contract holdout and an abundance of disagreement with upper management. After leaving the organization, he has remained very vocal about his displeasure with the way he was treated in Vancouver.
Upon returning to Russia, Bure took a few years away from the game; as he just enjoyed retirement and took a break from the busy everyday life of a professional hockey player.
He resumed work in 2010, when he began to build a new league for retired professional hockey players. Bure is the commissioner and a player in the new World Legends Hockey League, and has helped launch teams across Europe.
In 2015, he met with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, in hopes of having the NHL endorse the new league and bringing it to North America. Nothing came of these discussions, however the league has been a success across throughout Europe. The WLHL already boasts stars such as Alexei Yashin and Niklas Lidstrom..
Thus far it has been a success and has taken up a lot of time for Bure. A Canucks insider told me that Bure has been spending his spare time, he is coaching his son Pavel Jr.’s hockey team. Other than life in Russia, he and his family have a house in Florida and spend a fair bit of time basking in the sun of the southern USA.”
Bure was one of the most exciting players ever to play in Vancouver, and the legacy he left will never be forgotten amongst Canuck Fans. To this day, he is still the only Canuck to ever win the Calder Trophy for the NHL’s rookie of the year, and until 2019 he had the rookie scoring record for the Vancouver hockey club.
In 2019, the Canucks have been treated with another hotshot foreign rookie. Sweden’s Elias Pettersson broke Bure’s records, and is all but certain to be the second Canuck to be awarded the Calder Trophy.