Bourque: Have a Plan B

Nov 13, 2018

Former NHL star stresses the importance of meeting challenges and the resources Cal U provides to help students do so.

phil bourque

Phil Bourque addresses students on Nov. 9.


If you need to find a Plan B, Cal U is here to help.

A group of students got some advice about life’s challenges and using the University’s resources to help meet them from Phil Bourque, Pittsburgh Penguins radio broadcaster and two-time Stanley Cup champion. 

He touched on the three-year period between careers as a hockey player and member of the Penguins radio broadcast team.

“After hockey, I did not have a Plan B, which you must have,” he said. “If you’re a little unsure of where you are right now, you need to be aware how this school is here to support you. Part of the reason I was brought in today is to reinforce that and let you know this school is behind you.

“I’ve been very fortunate to live my dream as a player, but to have an unbelievable second career as a broadcaster is something I never thought would happen.

Members of the Office of Academic Success were on hand to discuss services it offers, including peer mentoring, First-Year Seminar, academic scheduling, registration, the Four-Year Graduation Plan and more.

Bourque also discussed the importance of mentoring, citing the influence of former NHL standout Jean Ratelle and Hall of Fame teammate and Penguins owner Mario Lemieux in his life.

“You’re going to need mentors who are going to steer you in the right direction,” Bourque said.

In 1994, Bourque almost died after dropping off a 40-foot cliff in Arizona, suffering three broken vertebrae in his neck, a broken skull, shattered sinus cavity, a broken cheekbone and a broken nose. 

He also talked about his difficult relationship with his now deceased father and urged students to follow their consciences.

“I did a lot of things in life that weren’t the right choices, so listen to that voice, because it’s always right and will and save you a lot of heartache,” he said.

“This was super-inspiring and had a big impact on me,” said Bradley Brncic, a first-year environmental studies major. “Cal has been a great fit for me, and hearing his story just makes me realize to just keep my head to the grindstone and you can get through anything.”

Lisa Glasser, student success specialist, said students should be proactive as they continue their academic career.

“This was a nice, fun way to end a busy week, to show students the services we have to offer and to remind them about registering for the spring semester,” she said. “As Phil said, you will come across obstacles and need a Plan B.  

“Hopefully this event helps let our students know we are here for them.”

“This place is amazing — I love this school, and I mean that,” said Bourque. “I wish I went to school here.”