Valeri Bure is an American-Russian former ice hockey player and Olympic medalist, born on 13 June 1974, in Moscow, Russia. He’s known for his play as the Montreal Canadiens’ and Calgary Flames’ right-winger.
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Valeri Vladimirovich Bure is the younger son of Vladimir and Tatiana Bure. His father was an Olympic swimmer who won four medals between the years 1968 and 1976 for the Soviet Union. Valeri’s family has a noble origin, granted since they created watches for tsars for more than a century. Valeri’s parent separated when he was nine years old. He has an older brother named Pavel Bure, who is also an ice hockey player and joined the National Hockey League (NHL) in the 1990s. The Bure siblings have a half-sister named Katya, but they were estranged from her along with their father and step-mother in 1998 for unknown reasons.
In 1991 Valeri moved to US to accompany his father, and brother who already lived there. Bure’s mother moved to US two months after her younger son.
In the season 1990-1991 and prior to his moving to US Valeri played three games with the team HC CSKA Moscow, which belonged to the Soviet Championship League. After his arrival to the US, Bure’s family settled in Los Angeles, where Vladimir continued training Valeri and his sibling Pavel in hockey and physical conditioning in general. At the time, Valeri was eligible to play junior hockey in the US, and joined the team Spokane Chiefs, which belonged to the Western Hockey League, the first Russian to join said league as a player in its history. In his time with the Chiefs, Valeri recorded 49 points in 53 games.
Valeri was selected by the Montreal Canadiens in the NHL Entry Draft of 1992, and joined the Canadian Hockey League. This agreement is known as an ‘import draft’, and happens when a player doesn’t have residency status in the US or Canada. Members of the Canadian Hockey League such as the Western Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Ontario Hockey League can take turns in selecting players from previous seasons, and can only take two imports per season.
Valeri was praised by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau and returned in the 1992-1993 season to the Spokane Chiefs, where he scored 147 points, and his 68 goals are still a record for the team. For his work that season, he was included by Western Hockey League in its West Division First All-Star Team.
In the next season, he returned to the Spokane Chiefs and scored 102 points; during his time with the Chiefs, he scored 298 goals and is fourth on the team’s all time scoring list.
Professional League Start: 1994
After three years in the junior division, in 1994 season Valeri Bure finally entered the professional league. In the 1994-95’s season he spent the majority of time playing for the Fredericton Canadiens, which is an affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens and a team in the American Hockey League. In his time with the team and during 45 games, he scored 48 points. At the end of the season he was called again by the Montreal Canadiens and officially played for the first time in the NHL against the New York Islanders, though he didn’t mark any points until two weeks later in a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
In his time with the Montreal Canadiens, he only scored three goals and had a hard time matching the expectations that the team had for him. Meanwhile, his brother Pavel was being praised in Vancouver, and slightly shadowed Valeri’s work.
In the 1996’s season Valeri scored 22 points, but in the next season only 14. In the team he was known for being part of the so called ‘Smurf line’, for being one of the team’s players smaller in stature along with Saku Koivu and Oleg Petrov. At the end of season 1997-98, he was traded to the Calgary Flames, for which he played 16 games and scored 24 goals. The change seemed more suitable for him not only for his performance, but also because the team was closer to his family in California.
Calgary Flames: 1998 – 2001
Bure’s performance in the Calgary Flames continued to improve, scoring 53 points in 1998, becoming one of its leading scorers.
The next season he also became one of NHL’s leading scorers, when the former team’s star Theoren Fleury was replaecd. Valeri was included in the All Star-Game of the year 2000, as at the end of the 1990-2000’s season, he ended the scoring leader of his team, with 35 goals.
In the season 2000-01, Bure left the position as the scoring leader with 27 goals, surpassed by the 31 goals of Jarome Iginla. After a series of changes in coaches, Bure asked for a trade of teams, and so he was traded to the Florida Panthers on 24 June 2001.
Florida Panthers and Retirement
Several injuries stilled Bure’s performance in the Florida Panthers’ team. At first a knee injury worsened as he played the start of the season with the team, and after a medical assessment he underwent arthroscopic surgery. In his recovery he missed 37 games, and then had to stop playing once again when a second knee injury occured.
At the end of the season, he had only scored 18 points.
In the next season (2002-03) he also had several problems, including suffered a wrist fracturet. At the end of the season he only marked 5 goals and 2 points, and so was traded to the St. Louis Blues’ team. There he had another knee injury and was kept out of the team’s lineup. At this time he returned to the Panthers and became one of the team’s leaders, scoring 20 goals and 45 points as he was finally free of injuries. However, he was traded again, this time to the Dallas Stars, in which he scored 7 points for the remaing 13 games of the season.
In the season 2005-06 he signed with Los Angeles Kings, but was left out of the line-up as he suffered a back injury, followed by another injury in his hip.
Both injuries required surgery, and Bure ended up losing the entire hockey season. At this time in 2007 he decided to retire, caused not only by his injuries but also because he wanted to spend more time with his family.
International Career and Olympics
Valeri Bure played at the 1994 World Junior Championships for his country Russia, winning the bronze medal winner, and Bure was included in the All-Star Team. He also played in the senior team that year in the World Championships.
Bure returned to the international league when he played at the inaugural game of the World Cup of Hockey in 1996. Two years later, he played in the 1998 Olympic Games, teaming with his brother Pavel for the first time in years, and winning the gold medal. In 2002 he was invited to play with Russia again in the Salt Lake Games, and his team won the bronze medal.
Valeri met actress and “Full House” star Candance Cameron in 1995, when Candance attended a charity hockey game to cheer on her co-star Dave Coulier, who was playing on Bure’s team. Candance said to US Weekly: ‘We were looking at these two cute men on the ice, and I was like ‘I wanna meet that one, the blonde one,’ which was Val’. The same day, Coulier introduced them, and they were immediately drawn to each other. At the time Valeri was 22 years old and Candance was 19.
The day after they were introduced they went out together, and dated for less than one year before they became engaged, and on 22 June 1996 they married. They welcomed their first child in 1998, a daughter who they named Natasha. The second child came in 2000, a boy they named Lev followed by their third child born in 2002, a boy they named Maksim.
— Candace Cameron Bure (@candacecbure) May 15, 2020
About their long-lasting marriage, Candance has said: ‘There have been several tough years in a row, ups and downs, bad attitudes and bad decisions, but we’ve persevered. We rode them out. We loved each other through them’. The couple is still together.
In 2001 Valeri Bure obtained American citizenship. In 2002 he returned to visit his native Russia for the first time in 11 years, along with his family.
Bure and Candance opened a restaurant in Florida in 2007, but it was closed after the couple moved out to California. Valeri, who had developed an interest in wine from his early career as a hockey player, opened his own winery which he named “Bure Family Wines”.
Valeri Bure’s has an estimated net worth of $15 Million as of 2020, which is a result of his career as an ice hockey player, and winery owner.
Valeri is a man of white ethnicity, with a slender but strong build as a result of extensive physical activity. He’s 5ft 10ins (1.78m) tall, and during his time as a professional hockey player his weight was approximately 180lb (82 kgs). He has short blond hair, and nowadays has grown a beard.
He declined the offer by Russia to play at the World Cup of Hockey in 2004 because he didn’t have injuries insurance, as he didn’t have an active NHL contract at the time.
His brother Pavel is considered a superstar in the NHL.
Valeri modified the imperial seal his noble great-grandfather used to stamp on his handmade watches, and made use of said seal as his winery label.
Valeri’s family is Christian.