In celebration of the Boston Bruins’ 100th season, NESN is dedicating an episode of the “Ultimate Bruins Show” to each member of the Bruins All-Centennial team. Tune in Thursday at 8 p.m. ET as we honor Ray Bourque.

The Boston Bruins have been very fortunate with the defensemen they’ve had throughout their 100 years in the NHL. Ray Bourque was a staple on the blue line for 21 seasons and an automatic selection to the Bruins All-Centennial Team, composed of the 20 most legendary players in franchise history. Learn more about Bourque’s selection on NESN’s “Ultimate Bruins Show” on Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET.

Selected eighth overall in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft, Bourque made an immediate impact in Boston, scoring a goal in his Bruins debut against the Winnipeg Jets. He amassed 65 points in his inaugural season winning the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year.

Just five seasons into his career, Bourque was named co-captain alongside veteran Rick Middleton following Terry O’Reilly’s retirement. Bourque donned the “C” while the Bruins played on the road and Middleton wore it for home games. The duo would share the captaincy until Middleton’s retirement in 1988 when Bourque became the team’s sole captain for the remainder of his career in Boston.

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Even in his first season, Bourque received Norris Trophy votes for the league’s top defenseman. He won his first of five at the conclusion of the 1986-87 season. Before he won the first Norris, Bourque had never finished out of the top five in votes.

“It was … it’s like finally winning the Cup, right? After 22 years,” Bourque told “I was finally winning a Norris Trophy. And they’re not … and winning a Cup is a million times better than winning a Norris Trophy, or any kind of individual award.

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“But you’re seeing other guys win it, and it’s no disrespect to anybody, but when you’re having the seasons that you’re having … it’s frustrating and disappointing. Then you start winning them. I know I have five of them, but I think I should have seven or eight of them.”

Bourque played 1,518 games for the Black and Gold, which is still the franchise record, while also holding the top spot in Bruins history with 1,111 assists, 1,506 points and 164 power-play goals.

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Even though, statistically, Bourque holds more franchise records than Bobby Orr, he never liked the comparisons.

“Nothing I did to pass Bobby, justified me being the same,” Bourque said. “I had longevity, I have consistency, I had health. Let’s give that to Bobby Orr for 21 years and see where he’s at.”

Bourque continued: “So, a player having ten years like he did, or what he accomplished in 10 years and being banged up like he was, even at the end of his career still doing it, or some of those years.”

The Quebec native led the Bruins to 29 consecutive playoff appearances that lasted through the 1996 season and two Stanley Cup Finals against the Edmonton Oilers. Although the Cup eluded Bourque in Boston, he would have his name engraved on the trophy as a member of the Colorado Avalanche in 2001.

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He was part of one of the most iconic moments in Bruins history.

In 1987 when the Bruins retired Phil Esposito’s No. 7. Bourque had been wearing the number since his rookie season. Just as Esposito was going to begin his speech during the pregame ceremony, Bourque skated over to Esposito and removed his jersey bearing No. 7; underneath, Bourque was wearing his new number — 77.

“It was like … I don’t think he expected,” Bourque remembered. “I don’t know what he thought was going to happen, but it was just an amazing night.

“And out of anything I’ve ever done in hockey, the stuff on the ice, the teams, the Cup, the finals, whatever, the first thing that comes up with everybody, I’d say 90 percent of the time, is that night, and the building only held 14,500 or something, if that, and it seemed like there’s 100,000 people at that game.” 

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His No. 77 would be retired by the Bruins and Avalanche in 2001, and he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004, his first season of eligibility. He is one of nine players to have their numbers retired by more than one club.

Bourque joins Bobby Orr, Brad Park, Zdeno Chara, Aubrey “Dit” Clapper and Eddie Shore to complete the six defensemen named to the Bruins All-Centennial Team.

Featured image via Lou Capozzola/USA TODAY Sports Images