His jersey will be lifted to the rafters Saturday, but Pavel Bure came home to the Vancouver Canucks last April when owner Francesco Aquilini raised a trial balloon at Rogers Arena.
Had any doubts existed — and Aquilini had none — about the propriety of honouring a player who spent most of his seven years with the National Hockey League team yearning to leave, they were eradicated when Bure attended a Thursday-night Canuck game against the Edmonton Oilers.
Invited to Vancouver by Aquilini, Bure was in the owner’s box as fans stood and roared when the Russian Rocket, a new inductee into the Hockey Hall of Fame, was shown on the scoreboard screen.
“People gave him a five-minute standing ovation,” Aquilini marvelled this week. “It was unbelievable. It really solidified how the fans felt about Pavel and how he felt about the fans. Pavel was crying. It actually brought tears to his eyes. It was a very special moment for him.
“This is really all about the fans. That’s why I did this. ...