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Alberta hockey player named top Canadian University athlete

Former Cochranite and MRU Cougar, Connor Bouchard, is the U SPORTS Player of The Year.
Connor Bouchard, winner of U SPORTS Player of The Year for men's hockey.

A former Cochrane athlete is making strides in the varsity hockey league, as Connor Bouchard’s current run with the Mount Royal University Cougars hockey team has led him to win U SPORTS as Player of The Year.

Bouchard spent five seasons with the Tri-City Americans of the WHL, and is the second Cougar in three seasons to win the award.

Bouchard just finished his second year with the Cougars, where he played 26 games and secured 57 points through 23 goals, 34 assists. To add on to his repertoire, he also secured 12 power play goals, and averaged 2.23 goals a game and held a +31 plus-minus rating.

Another achievement for Bouchard’s season was his 24-point streak. He is the first player since 2000-2001 to reach the 50-point milestone.

“It’s been really good, and MRU’s been the perfect fit for me, personally,” he said. “So, I’m really enjoying it.”

Earlier this month, Bouchard was named the winner of the Senator Joseph A. Sullivan Trophy as the most outstanding player in U SPORTS men’s hockey.  

He said it was achieved by having a great team supporting him through his efforts.

“Obviously that comes from playing on a good hockey team, and I really believe we have a really close group I’ve played with,” Bouchard said. “So, I was just lucky to play with the group and the coaching staff I was with.”

Looking back on his season, Bouchard said he is proud to be part of the culture and team the Cougars built this season, adding that he plans to help take them all the way to the top next season.

“I’m excited to come back and take another swing at trying to get a national championship, and as far as next year, we only lose three or four guys,” he said. “So, almost the whole team’s coming back, which is exciting obviously.

“This year, we’re the youngest team in Can West, so [I’m] just so excited to come back with the same group and try to build on what we did this year.”

As someone who grew up playing hockey in the community, Bouchard said he still fondly remembers the time he spent in Cochrane before he left to pursue his hockey career.

“I loved my time playing minor hockey, and I still have buddies sin Cochrane that I played with,” he said. “It was great. It was really special playing at Spray Lakes and the Old Barn. I still have memories of being there, and I plan on working out in Cochrane this spring and summer.”

Currently, Bouchard is studying sports management at MRU. He hopes to take his passion for teamwork and hockey and translate that into a career where he can apply those skills.

“I think wherever I go, I’d like to stay in sport somehow or someway,” he said. “Hockey is obviously a big part of my life, so I think that would probably be my number one choice.

“I mean, I want to play hockey for as long as I can, so right now it’s a though ask because I think in my head like – I’ll just play hockey forever, but at some point, I think I just want to be part of a team, and hopefully it’s in hockey. But if it’s in another sport, that’s good too.”

Overall, Bouchard said he loves being part of MRU and looks forward to being part of the Cougars for another season.

“It fits like a glove and it’s been the perfect fit,” he said. “From the teammates, the coaching staff, to the staff from the school, I feel very fortunate to be part of it.

“I’m excited to stick around and be here for another year. I’m really pumped to be part of the family here at Mount Royal.”

With this season behind him, Bouchard said he plans to take his varsity hockey career as far as possible in the future.

“Things kind of went good for me this year, but I still feel like I have a lot to grow with hockey, and I feel like I can take it to another level and become a better player,” he said. “I think sometimes numbers don’t tell the whole story, and I think I can really improve in a lot of areas and become a better player for my team.”

Daniel Gonzalez

About the Author: Daniel Gonzalez

Daniel Gonzalez joined the Cochrane Eagle in 2022. He is a graduate of the Mount Royal University Journalism program. He has worked for the Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta and as a reporter in rural Alberta for the ECA Review.
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