Who is Evan Boucher and where did he come from? That’s what everyone is asking these days.
Brockville Braves Head Coach and former NHLer Randy Jones perhaps gives the most simplistic and accurate description of Boucher.
“Evan has good size, he’s a good skater and has a great shot,” said Jones.
If one was to look at Boucher’s stat line over the last three or four seasons it would give the impression that he literally came out of nowhere, obviously that isn’t the case.
Boucher was acquired by the Braves from the Nepean Raiders at the start of the season. The rangy power forward appeared in 52 games for the Raiders amassing 23 goals and 14 assists a season ago.
In 27 games with the Braves, Boucher lite the lamp 22 times while adding 18 assists.
There’s no question Evan Boucher has a history of scoring goals in the CCHL, but that still doesn’t answer the question who is Evan Boucher?
With COVID-19 restrictions still in place in Nova Scotia, Mooseheads fans still haven’t seen the goal scoring wizard in person. Is Evan Boucher an enigma? Obviously, we all know he can score, but the free agent forward has given new meaning to the term “sniper” in his first foray in the QMJHL.
Cam Russell and his scouting staff look like absolute geniuses once again after signing the 19 year old in late December.
Everyone can look at a stat sheet and realize Evan Boucher can score and where he has applied his craft for the last few seasons, but we still don’t know how those experiences and the adversity he’s faced along the way shaped the player and person.
Evan Boucher can score goals, but there’s a lot more to his story than that.
Evan Boucher is the epitome of perseverance and persistence.
Love and Sacrifice
No one knows Evan Boucher better than his mother Chantal Poulin, who moved all three of her children from Timmins, Ontario to Ottawa when Evan was only 10 years old.
Love and sacrifice has defined their journey through life and the game of hockey.
“Evan started playing hockey when he was only three and half years old. It didn’t take him long to learn how to skate and once he had that stick and puck, he was in his glory,” said Poulin.
“Evan eats and sleeps hockey, he has always been driven to play to the game he loves.”
The years may have gone by very fast, but the memories are vivid as ever for the Poulin.
“When Evan was only one and half, he would run around the house with a mini stick wearing his older brother’s helmet. One time the mini stick broke, and I threw it out, only to find it later under his pillow.”
Hockey dreams are always shared just like all of the sacrifices for families dedicated to game.
“Parents always try to give the best experience or opportunities to their child, and I did my best to do that for all my three of my kids. It means a lot to me to be able to do as much as I can even though sometimes there have been some struggles since being a single mom for the last eight years, but with the help of many friends, hockey personnel and family we were blessed to receive a lot of help over the years.”
Being a single hockey mom of three undoubtedly had its challenges. The sacrifices made over the years were never taken for granted and they ultimately shaped Boucher’s character and passion as a person and player.
“I am extremely proud and so happy for Evan with his early success in the QMJHL,” said Poulin.
“I thought it would take him about three to four games to get to know and develop chemistry with his teammates and coaches, but he has definitely fit in quite well.”
“I’m surprised at this early success, but on the other hand, I’m not.”
“This is all about Evan’s passion for the game. He has so much love and dedication to the game, he works extremely hard to achieve what he needs to do.”
Poulin and her children have experienced all of the ups and downs life and the game could throw at them. Through it all they never lost sight of what mattered most, love and dedication to each other and the game of hockey.
Like so many other young aspiring athletes and hockey players the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has certainly taken its toll.
“Evan has always been very disciplined when it comes to hockey, but the pandemic was very hard on him. Not being able to go on the ice and train like he was used to everyday was really tough.”
From the outdoor rinks shooting hundreds of pucks a day in freezing cold temperatures, to watching TSN and Sportsnet, to playing Xbox, to watching hockey morning, noon and night, Evan Boucher could never get enough of the game he loves.
So, what makes Evan Boucher tick? What has he done throughout his journey to set him apart from others? What’s the secret, why is off to an amazing start in to have so much success in the QMJHL?
“Evan has always had very specific routines in when it comes to playing the game he loves,” explained Poulin.
“Evan is definitely superstitious, I guess it starts from when he gets up in the morning until he steps on the ice, from his breakfast, to his dinner, to taping his stick a certain way, to tying up his skates, to giving a certain sign before stepping on the ice, it’s his specific routine,” said Poulin.
“If it aint broke, don’t fix it” rings true when looking at Evan Boucher’s journey to the QMJHL and subsequent success.
Superstitious or not, Evan Boucher has never lost sight of the value of hard work and dedication due in large part to all the sacrifices his mother has made to get him to this point of his life and hockey career.
Love of life and love of the game can take you anywhere. For Evan Boucher, it’s taken him to Moose Country and he wouldn’t change it for the world.
Hockey Dreams Do Come True
1,456 Kilometers. The distance between Brockville, Ontario and Halifax, Nova Scotia.
That’s also the distance between Evan Boucher’s hockey dreams and reality.
After years of adversity Evan Boucher’s hockey dreams are finally coming true.
19-year-old rookies usually don’t exist in the QMJHL. Sure, it happens from time to time, but usually those players have CHL experience. It’s extremely rare to see a player/free agent come into the “Q” from the Jr. A ranks and effectively administer as much damage as Boucher has in his first five games with the Mooseheads. In only three QMJHL games, the outstanding two-way winger has five goals and two assists.
Boucher plays a heavy skilled game and as Randy Jones eluded to, he can definitely get around the ice. He’s a strong powerful skater with solid puck skills and an elite level release. Boucher uses his frame very well to shield the puck and creates tons of time and space for himself and his linemates.
His straight-line speed is very deceptive. It’s the clear that the opposition underestimated his speed in open ice over the first three games. From first glance Boucher is extremely reliable in all three zones and has a knack at finding the soft areas of the ice. The rookie forward isn’t scared to go to the dirty areas of the ice and if anything he welcomes the contact and challenge. He thinks the game very well and has great vision. There’s no question Boucher plays a full 200 ft game and will only continue to get better with more reps and experience at the QMJHL level. Boucher did get selected by the Flint Thunderbirds in the 2018 U-16 OHL Priority Selection Draft in the 10th round 182 overall. Boucher and his family thought the NCAA route might be the best opportunity for him to take in hopes of playing professionally after college.
Every player has their own unique path in the game. The road less travelled is usually the most rewarding, that’s certainly been the case for Evan Boucher.
To be continued…….