This morning, the Syracuse Crunch tweeted a thank you and goodbye message to forward Michael Bournival as he has announced his retirement from hockey.
Bournival was drafted in the third round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the Colorado Avalanche. He was drafted as a smaller forward with speed as one of his greatest assets. He didn’t last long with the Avs though as he was traded less than five months later to the Montreal Canadiens for Ryan O’Byrne.
Bournival made his AHL debut with the Hamilton Bulldogs during 2012-13 scoring 10 goals and 30 points in 69 games. The next year, he found himself in the NHL with the Canadiens scoring seven goals and 14 points over 60 games and adding an assist in 14 playoff games. He continued in 2014-15 with time split between Montreal and Hamilton. He scored 5 points in 29 games for the Canadiens.
His injuries started with a concussion in Feburary of 2014 that kept him out for a month and a half. He also missed a month in November of 2014 with a shoulder injury. At the beginning of the 2015-16 season, Bournival was placed on IR for two months with an undisclosed injury that was believed to be concussion related before being activated, waived, and assigned to the AHL. After playing just 20 games during 2015-16, the Canadiens declined to tender a contract to Bournival as a restricted free agent.
The Lightning signed him in free agency to play with the Syracuse Crunch. He recorded nine goals and 19 points in 38 games. He had a great playoff run with eight goals and 15 points in 22 games as the Crunch lost in the finals for the Calder Cup. He also appeared in 19 games for the Lightning with two goals and three points. In Tampa, he was paired up with fellow francophones Cedric Paquette and Gabriel Dumont on the fourth line sparking jokes about them being The New French Connection.
The Lightning retained him for another season in 2017-18. He played in five games for the Lightning without recording a point. In 57 games for the Syracuse Crunch, he put up 15 goals and 34 points in 57 games.
Unfortunately, Bournival’s season was cut short by a knee injury. He had a lengthy recovery and did not return to action until November of this season for the Crunch. He recorded a goal and three points in five games for the Crunch before being injured once again. This time, it was a shoulder injury that required season ending surgery with a 6-7 month recovery time. That time frame would have put him getting back to full strength about now.
Bournival was a well liked character by the fans in Syracuse. He was a leader on the team and was slated to wear an A as an Alternate Captain for the Crunch this past season. It’s hard to see a player’s career come to an end due to injuries rather than by their own decision or the natural progression of age.
Thank you for all of your contributions to the organization Michael. We wish you the best as you begin the next chapter of your life!
Merci et bonne chance!