Nova Scotia

New Mooseheads forward fuelled by the teams that passed him over

Since joining the Halifax Mooseheads as a free agent recently, forward Evan Boucher has made the most of the opportunity, scoring seven points in three games. He's motivated in part by the teams that passed him over.

'I've always loved being the underdog,' says Evan Boucher, who has 7 points in 3 games

Evan Boucher poses with the pucks used for his first two goals with the Halifax Mooseheads. In his first game on Feb. 5, 2022, he scored the game-tying goal and the ensuing overtime winner in the team's 3-2 win over the Chicoutimi Saguenéens. (Halifax Mooseheads)

When Evan Boucher first skated on the home ice of the Halifax Mooseheads recently, it was a lot for the team's newest player to take in.

"The history in this building, like, I'm here on the same ice as Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin, Jakub Voracek, Jean-Sébastien Giguère, there's a lot of big names coming through there, so it was a pretty wild moment for me," said the 19-year-old left winger.

In Boucher's short time with the team, the free agent addition has made the most of his opportunities, even if suiting up for the Mooseheads wasn't his plan A.

Boucher intended to go the NCAA route, in hopes that it would lead to a pro career.

To retain his NCAA eligibility, Boucher didn't play in the Canadian Hockey League (CHL). Most recently, he was playing for the Brockville Braves of the Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL) and was second in league scoring before the league underwent a temporary COVID-19 shutdown.

'A pretty easy decision'

It became apparent to the Ontario native that the NCAA path might not happen, but he wasn't deterred.

"As soon as one door closes, another door opens," he said. "I was disappointed, but you know, I just take it day by day and look at the door that's open."

That door turned out to be interest from the Halifax Mooseheads, who signed him Jan. 10. Boucher said the team's track record of producing NHL stars made it "a pretty easy decision" to join.

Boucher said he doesn't believe any other CHL teams wanted to sign him. They might be regretting that decision based on his first three games with Halifax.

In his first game on Feb. 5 against the Chicoutimi Saguenéens, he scored the game-tying goal and the overtime winner.

It was a memorable start, even if Boucher can't remember scoring the winning goal.

"The adrenaline rush was insane, I don't really remember it," he said. "That's how how shocked I was."

Scoring streak

In three games, Boucher has scored five goals and seven points. He's also worked his way up from the third line and is now playing on the first line with Elliot Desnoyers and Jordan Dumais.

Mooseheads coach Sylvain Favreau said Boucher has fit right in.

"He's a workhorse, gets to those dirty areas and he's able to capitalize, being a natural shooter," said Favreau.

Those "dirty areas" are the willingness to go into the corners and engage in feisty battles, something the 6'2, 200-pounder is happy to do.

Boucher hopes to use his time with the Mooseheads as a springboard to a pro career.

He's 19 and can still play as an overager next year.

Halifax Mooseheads head coach Sylvain Favreau is shown during an Oct. 2, 2021, game in Halifax. He says Boucher is very personable and has a great sense of humour. (Trevor MacMillan/Halifax Mooseheads)

If pro hockey isn't in the cards after his tenure wraps up with the Mooseheads, Boucher plans to go to university, study psychology and suit up for the university squad.

But for now, he's fuelled by the NCAA plans that didn't pan out and the teams that passed him over.

"I've always loved being the underdog," he said. "Being underdogs, you just got to prove people wrong and believe in yourself."

The Mooseheads return to the ice Tuesday night in Moncton.

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