Everyone’s going on and on about this being Gordie Howe’s birthday, and that’s fine. Happy birthday Gordie.
But what about Claude Bourque? What’s he, chopped liver?
Claude Bourque was born on this day, March 31, 1915, and if he wouldn’t have died in 1982, he would’ve been alive and really old now.
Bourque was the Habs goaltender for 61 games between 1938 and 1940 and he was also loaned to the Detroit Red Wings, Howe’s future team, for one game in 1940. (they lost). At that time, Howe was only 12, so Bourque would’ve stopped him almost every time in the warmup if Howe was playing. But nobody mentions Claude’s birthday.
There’s hardly any difference in these two players, but for whatever reason, Howe gets all the ink. So what that Bourque was a goalie and Howe a forward? They both enjoyed lengthy careers, with Gordie playing 1767 NHL games and Bourque 62. And they were born almost in the same neighborhood, – Howe in Saskatchewan and Bourque in Nova Scotia. Not only that, they were close in size, with Gordie at 6’0, 205 pounds, and Claude just a couple of inches shorter and slightly lighter at 5’6, 140.
It’s uncanny, the similarities. But it seems it’s all about Howe.
I for one am celebrating Claude Bourque’s birthday today, not Howe’s. Happy birthday, Claude.