Who is Evan Boucher? That’s the question everyone was asking about two months ago, by now everyone knows who is and what he can do on the ice!
Saying Evan Boucher has burst on the scene in the QMJHL would be a massive understatement. His first foray in the CHL has been nothing but spectacular. The whirlwind tour that’s has been Evan Boucher’s journey with the Halifax Mooseheads has been nothing short of miraculous. “Yeah, it’s been crazy,” admitted Boucher who has 15 goals and 9 assists in 21 QMJHL games.
“Honestly, I didn’t think things would have started so quickly. I thought it would take me a few games to adjust to the speed and the different skill set the Q possesses,” Boucher said.
The 19-year-old rookie free agent isn’t taking anything for granted and it might be as cliché as it gets, but he’s trying to take everything in stride and one day at a time.
“I’m taking things game by game and I’m just trying to keep things simple.”
Boucher’s ascension to the QMJHL ranks is pretty extraordinary. He never gave up on his hockey dreams. Those hockey dreams all started in Timmins, Ontario, but it was a move to Ottawa that really deepened his passion and love for the game.
“I always dreamed of playing in the OHL, I think every kid from Ontario dreams about that, especially seeing players like Steven Stamkos, Patrick Kane, John Tarvares and all the other big names going through.”
“Growing up, I was massive Leafs fan., I always loved watching guys like Mats Sundin play for the Leafs, but my favorite player growing up was Alex Ovechkin. I love the way Ovie plays the game, he’s a pest on the ice, he hits a lot and obviously scores a lot of goals, I just love how he plays,” said Boucher.
“We didn’t have a bunch of skating programs in Timmins, I kind of did the job by myself. I tried to shoot pucks every day.”
“When I first got to Ottawa, my skating wasn’t the best and to be honest that was the biggest part that was missing from my game.”
Every player and person needs a mentor. Someone to look up to, someone to challenge them and most of all someone to inspire them. For Evan Boucher it was his coach Bino Cesario and his brother Andrew.
“Bino is a fantastic coach,” Boucher said proudly.
“He really took everything so serious, he never played hockey growing up, but he knows more about the game than anyone I know.”
“He is the greatest coach, I’ve ever had.”
“My brother helped me so much. Andrew taught me a lot about the game and what I should and shouldn’t do.” Andrew is no stranger to the game of hockey, he’s currently a scout with the Ottawa 67’s of the OHL. Boucher like so many other young up and coming prospects was torn on what the best route for him to take. Boucher was selected by the Flint Thunderbirds in the 2018 U-16 OHL Priority Selection Draft in the 10th round 182nd overall. At that time Boucher and his family thought the NCAA route might be the best opportunity for him to take in hopes of playing professionally after college. That plan changed when the Halifax Moosheads approached the natural goal scorer in late December.
The opportunity to play at the CHL level with the Halifax Mooseheads was something he and his family couldn’t resistance.
“It’s a big opportunity for me to play in the Q. There’s a lot of kids out there that want to be in my position to get that chance or call to have a chance to even play in the Q, ultimately the decision to play here was big for me.”
“I talked a lot with my family about the decision I wanted to make either to pursue the NCAA route or come to Halifax.”
“I really couldn’t pass up the offer when they approached me especially this season with the team and group we have this year,” Boucher said proudly.
“The Mooseheads are a great organization to play for and they really treat you like an NHL organization, so it was a pretty easy decision to come here,” stressed Boucher.
“It’s every kids dream to play in a league to give yourself a chance to go play pro, I’m definitely happy that I got the opportunity to play with the Mooseheads.”
Opportunities in the game of hockey aren’t automatic. They don’t happen without hardship, adversity, and sacrifice. Boucher learned all of those aspects of the game early on, but he learned how to cope and overcome them from his mother Chantal Poulin. “Mom is the one that got us to Ottawa in the first place as a family. Being a single mom, it wasn’t easy for her at all.”
“Obviously, it wasn’t easy getting us to the rink, we did have a lot of people that helped us out, but she’s truly amazing. She always did the right things for us. There was always a roof over our heads and food on the table.”
“She worked very hard to help me to get where I am today. She’s a massive part of my journey in the game, she has always known what to do and say to allow me to have great games.”
“It was all because of her,” stressed Boucher.
Being a 19-year-old rookie has its challenges as well. In junior hockey, time is of the essence, father time is always ticking. There are no guarantees in the game especially when you are trying to make the most of your first and perhaps only opportunity to perform at the next level.
“Coming into Halifax as a 19, you never know what to expect. There were a lot of high expectations.”
“Being 19, is different, it’s not like when you’re 16 and you can take a year or two to slowly develop to used to the game, you have come in and have a big impact and that’s what I’m doing right,” Boucher said.
“Trying to secure my spot for next year is important and I’m trying to look at as the job isn’t done yet. You have to take things day by day, you never really know what’s going to happen the next day or the next game.”
“I would be thrilled to be part of the organization for next year, but the job isn’t finished this season. My focus is on this season and trying to make a deep playoff run with this group,” Boucher said.
Boucher like so many others that call the CHL home are one to two steps away from the ultimate goal of playing in the National Hockey League. “It’s every kids dream, especially for me playing with guys that are drafted, it is special, you just have to look up to those guys and see what those guys do on and off the ice.”
“It’s all about the little things they do.”
“Just because I’m having success early doesn’t mean anything yet, but I’m definitely proud of myself if what I’m accomplished so far,” stressed Boucher.
“To be honest with you, everything is new and it was still a bit shocking when you’re doing so well a high level like this and you score your first QMJHL goal.”
“I’m still speechless to this day,” confessed Boucher when thinking about scoring his 1st QMJHL goal.
“Everything is new from interviews and everything like that is all new and you don’t really know how to act.”
“I’m taking one step at a time and trying to enjoy it. You just have to take a deep breathe and enjoy the moment,” Boucher said.
The adversity that Boucher has faced undoubtedly shape his path as player, but more importantly its redefined his character and resiliency as a person. “All the adversity has definitely helped, it acts as motivation with a lot of people doubting me,” confessed Boucher.
“They always seemed to tell me that I couldn’t go places or that I couldn’t do that.”
“You just have to silent the haters.”
“There’s always going to be a lot of people that are going to doubt you in your life, you just have to use that as motivation.”
“Sure, I faced a lot of adversity, but at the end of the day I kept believing in myself, I think that’s the biggest thing, if you believe in yourself you can do anything.”
The routines, rituals and superstitions that Boucher’s mother Chantal Poulin alluded to during Part One of Who Is Evan Boucher? has undoubtedly helped the mind and body.
It’s all about maximizing personal performance. Day by day Evan Boucher continues to improve and get better routines or superstitions aside, it’s all about trusting and believing in what works the best. “I try to mentally prepare before practices and games, practice is so important, you play like you practice and I’ve always taken practice serious.”
“Always staying positive really help me, I guess you could call it my main thing. If you have one or two bad games, you just have to focus on the next shift or the next game, staying positive is really important and that’s what I have tried to do along.”
Boucher’s advice to other young aspiring players and those in the Junior A ranks is extremely impactful.
“Honestly, it’s all about believing in yourself and working hard. You could can do anything when you believe in yourself. Nothing comes easy, an opportunity or call it’s going to come by just sitting on your couch. You have to put in the work when no one is watching, that’s where the best athletes come from,” explained Boucher.
Boucher is quick to credit the entire Mooseheads coaching staff for his early success. “They have been amazing. They are teaching me to find ways to be better in not the offensive zone but also in the defensive zone because that’s where it all starts.”
“Sylvain and the entire coaching staff are great coaches, they are very high on preparation and getting us ready to be professional athletes.”
Evan Boucher’s inspirational journey in the game of the hockey continues. Obviously, the hockey world knows who Evan Boucher is as a player and person. You see that’s what makes his story so special, he’s never given up on his dreams, never let the adversity derail him or get him down. He always believed in himself, earned every opportunity and trusted the process a long the way. That’s what Evan Boucher is all about!