Ryan Bourque is intent on becoming the third member of his family to play in the National Hockey League.
At just 20 years old, Bourque has had an excellent training camp with the New York Rangers, the team that drafted him in the third round of the 2009 draft.
So much so, in fact, that he has accompanied the team to Europe, where they'll play four exhibition games against European clubs before beginning their NHL season a week from Friday against the Los Angeles Kings in Stockholm.
"I'm not surprised at all; I skate and work out with Ryan every day in the summer and know how hard he worked to get ready for this season," said his older brother and fellow forward, Washington Capitals forward Chris Bourque.
"Ryan's in great shape, and he's a great player. He definitely deserves the chance he's getting there, and doing well with the chance he's been given."
A fast and mobile skater who also possesses a scorer's touch and is aware of his defensive responsibilities, Bourque has played the past two seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, totalling 45 goals and 102 points for the Quebec Remparts. He signed a three-year entry level contract with the Rangers earlier this year.
Bourque has acquitted himself well both during the Traverse City (Mich.) Prospects Camp prior to training camp as well as in the Rangers' camp.
Should he be sent down to the minors, Bourque would play with the Rangers' American Hockey League club, the Connecticut Whale.
"We talk pretty much every day and I know he's very happy with how he's done," Chris Bourque said. "I think he's definitely the type of player the Rangers are looking for.
"I think he's got a bright future in their organization; I'm very happy for him. Hopefully, he keeps up his strong play."
Bourque and the Rangers will play four exhibition games against some top European teams prior to their 2011-12 season opener. They include tomorrow night against HC Sparta in Prague, Czech Republic; Friday against Frolunda in Gothenberg, Sweden; Sunday vs. HZ Slovan in Bratislava, Slovakia; and Monday vs. Ev Zug in Zug, Switzerland.