Written for thecanuckway.com
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.
The 1989 NHL entry draft changed the fortunes of the Vancouver Canucks when they picked Bure in the third round.
Third round? Yes, Bure was picked in the third 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.