Hockey players in Winnipeg are accustomed to meeting new people, with the need to connect with new teammates almost annually. For players residing in the country, however, that need to connect with new teammates is less prevalent. Keane Boucher found excitement in joining a new team, and was able to connect with the young St. Boniface Riels rather quickly after being traded from the Pembina Valley Twisters at the beginning of his second season. Finishing second amongst all rookie skaters with 34 points in 43 games with Pembina Valley in 2017-2018, Boucher had caught the attention of the Riels organization, and soon filled the centre ice position in the Riels lineup nicely. 

Boucher became a leader and essential part of the Riels club. Size and experience lead Boucher into a two-way centerman role. That carried into his third season, as Boucher was called upon in all types of situations for the Riels. Boucher found satisfaction in representing the organization off the ice, and was regularly involved with team initiatives in cooperation with St. Boniface Minor Hockey. 

We sat down with Boucher to learn more about the transition between clubs, and what’s important on and off the ice for the veteran forward. 

Q: What motivated you to come back for the second, third, and even fourth season with the team, and after being traded from Pembina Valley.

KB: I think being traded there and having a fresh start again was cool, meeting new guys… I never really had that because I’ve always played with the same guys or against the same guys my whole life, which was great too… Meeting new people and making friends kept it fun… I think it gave me more opportunity to have a different social life hanging out with them after practice or when I was in the city for school. Playing against my old friends was cool as well! I really miss going to the rink and competing though… I’ll definitely try and play senior hockey in Morden. 

(On coaching staff) they’re also great guys. If you look at the character of those guys, they’re able to keep players around and keep people motivated to come back and play… It’s really tough, especially when you have players leaving sometimes, it’s hard to build a team. We had a really young team when I was there and they did a really good job. 

Q: What do you believe you brought to the Riels group? Coming in as a second year player then into your third season.  

KB: I came for the first half of the year (in my second year), and it was cool to get to know the older guys who I had played against, and I became close with them… I thought we were always really optimistic about our success and hopeful for the future… Plus it was easy with good guys in the room. I’m not much of a practice guy, but I really looked forward to coming to practice because of the group. 

Q: Any specific moments where you were truly proud of your team?

KB: There were enough guys on our team that cared about you that you’d have someone backing you up. If we saw a guy go down, then guys would always be going in there for you; I thought that was really cool. In the room, and even when we were in down spots, we were always positive and were able to still laugh! That’s something I’ll always remember was that it was always positive.

“It was easy with good guys in the room… Really looked forward to coming to practice because of the group.” 

Q: Taking a step away from hockey, what’s been the focus since October?

KB: Trying to get a better hold of my studies! Currently in the physical education program so that’s been nice… To be a coach and teach people. I’m passionate about that. When I was in Morden I was driving to Winnipeg for hockey so that took a lot of time off my day. When the games were suspended, I just had more time in general… It gave me time to do stuff back home which I wasn’t able to do in the last few years in Winnipeg, like going ice-fishing with my friends. Also gave me the opportunity to be around my family more since I had moved away from them for school. It was good to be back home seeing them… I go back home in the summer though and work at the golf course in Morden. It’s a pretty good job and this will be my sixth summer at the course!  

Q: You mentioned coaching and Phys Ed. Would you stay involved with hockey? 

KB: I think I would! I remember when i was in highschool I volunteered with a few teams and helped them when I could… When I’m back home or working somewhere I think that’s one of the first things I would do. Get back into that coaching role. Helping the kids is pretty sweet, especially if you can go back to your minor hockey program that helped you grow as a player.

Cheers to you and your career in the MMJHL, Bouche!

Regular Season Stats

Season

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

2017 – 2018 (with Twisters)

43

9

25

34

20

2018 – 2019

25

1

7

8

16

2019 – 2020

43

5

15

20

45

2020 – 2021

4

2

0

2

4