VANCOUVER -- When Alexandre Burrows started his professional career on ECHL tryouts with the Greenville Grrrowl and Baton Rouge Kingfish, he rarely stopped believing he would make it to the NHL.
But the idea of one day being honored by an NHL team?
"I would have told them they were crazy and that was impossible," Burrows said.
The impossible became reality Tuesday, when Burrows was enshrined in the Vancouver Canucks Ring of Honour before a game against the Ottawa Senators. His No. 14, name and image are now mounted permanently in Rogers Arena, alongside Orland Kurtenbach, Kirk McLean, Thomas Gradin, Harold Snepsts, Pat Quinn and Mattias Ohlund.
Burrows was joined by his wife, Nancy, and three young children at center ice, and the fans gave him a standing ovation and remained standing throughout a 10-minute, no-notes speech that included a thank you to his parents, family, former teammates and the fans.
"It feels good to be back," he said. "In 2006, when I played my first game for the Vancouver Canucks, never could I have imagined I would be inducted into the Ring of Honour."
As hard as it might have been for an undrafted Burrows to imagine, it was his path from playing competitive ball hockey in the summers to playing alongside Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin on the top line that endeared him to fans and made the induction an easy choice.
"Everybody loves that came-out-of-nowhere underdog," Burrows said, "That blue-collar worker that no one believed in and found a way to get to the first line and having success."
Burrows signed with Vancouver as a free agent on November 8, 2005 and played 822 games over 11 seasons with Canucks. He worked his way up from a fourth-line energy player to a first-line scorer, with 384 points (193 goals, 191 assists) with Vancouver. He rode shotgun as Henrik Sedin led the League in scoring and won Hart Trophy in 2010 and Daniel Sedin won the Art Ross Trophy as leading scorer and the Ted Lindsay Award in 2011.
Burrows scored 127 goals over four seasons alongside with the Sedins, and the Canucks won the Presidents' Trophy twice and reached the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.
"Brought back a lot of memories," Burrows said of being back in the building where he scored the Game 7 overtime winner that propelled the Canucks past the rival Chicago Blackhawks in the First Round of that 2011 playoff run. "Emotions of joy for me, emotions of pride. This organization was so good for me, they gave me my first chance. I've had so much fun working for this team, working in this great community, I've had some life-changing experiences, I've made some great friendships. I always enjoyed my time here and even if we didn't achieve our ultimate goal, it's always going to have a special place in my heart."