SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. – Adam Bourque wasn’t able to say what he felt when Mark Messier walked over to him with the Stanley Cup held high, but his beaming smile and tear-filled eyes spoke volumes.
Bourque, 28, has a neuromuscular disorder that prevents him from speaking, but his infectious enthusiasm for Canada’s great game earned him top honours in the Bring Home The Stanley Cup contest on CBC’s Hockey Night In Canada.
His prize for winning the contest was a visit on Saturday from Hockey Hall of Famer Mark Messier who showed up at Bourque’s home in Summerside, P.E.I., with the Stanley Cup in tow.
“Adam’s dream has come true,” said his mother, Susan.
“It has been a life-changing experience for my entire family.”
With the holy grail of hockey sitting in his garage, Bourque, Messier, friends and neighbours enjoyed a fast-paced game of road hockey on the street in front of the Bourque home.
Bourque is a goalie for a local Special Olympics floor hockey team, and while he stopped quite a few balls, a slap shot from Messier got past him and into the net.
“He’s the most passionate hockey fan I know,” said Jeff Sheculski, Bourque’s boss at the local Wal-Mart.
“This is such a big deal, a lot of people wanted us to shut the store today. We couldn’t do that, but the whole store and I think the whole community is really proud of him.”
Bourque won the contest with a simple but poignant video that showed how he speaks through a computer and how he idolizes hockey and its players.
He watches games in a room filled to the ceiling with hockey collectibles, ranging from helmets to bobble-head dolls.
He said in the video that he always wanted to play ice hockey but his disability made that impossible, so instead he became what he calls the game’s “number one fan.”
“I can’t imagine a world without hockey,” he says in the video.
Messier, now 47 and retired since 2005, appeared moved by Bourque’s broad, bright smile.
“It’s an incredible experience for me,” said the six-time Stanley Cup champion.
“That’s what the Stanley Cup is really all about, when you see the number of people it touches.”
Messier is currently in his second year as the face of the Bring Home the Stanley Cup contest, sponsored by Hockey Night in Canada and PepsiCo.
Fans are asked to submit video entries of their playoff rituals and the winner gets Messier showing up on their doorstep with the Stanley Cup.
Bourque also won a 52-inch LCD TV and home theatre system, as well as leather chairs, an Xbox 360 console and other items.