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2 months ago
Bruce Boudreau’s Bringing Junior Hockey to Hershey

BY DON SCOTT

There’s a new hockey team headed to Chocolatetown, thanks to former Hershey Bears coach Bruce “Gabby” Boudreau and his wife Crystal, since they have purchased a junior hockey team in the United States Premier Hockey League’s Premier Division.

The league is shooting for a regular season consisting of a 44-game schedule, starting in September at Hershey Park Arena. They’re also planning to hold contests soon for fans to vote on the team’s name and uniform colors.

The league has 62 teams across the United Statesm with nearby teams incluyding the Skipjacks Academy in York, Pittsburgh Vengeance in Harman Township and the Philadelphia Hockey Club in Sewell, New Jersey.

The Boudreau’s are also owners of the USPHL Premier Division’s Minnesota Blue Ox where, their son Brady is the assistant coach, and because of that they got to know Richard Gallant, the league’s commissioner.

“When I came here as the coach it was amazing how I was welcomed by Bruce McKinney and Doug Yingst,” Boudreau said. “Every day I learned something about the arena’s history, so that’s why I thought this would be a perfect place for a USPHL franchise, plus there was already Lebanon Valley College and the Bears, so it just felt like a great place for a junior hockey team.”

For Boudreau, it is a return to where he won a 2006 Calder Cup while compiling a 103-45-11-16 record over parts of three seasons with the Hershey Bears. His NHL coaching time covered 13 years in Washington, Anaheim, and Minnesota and included a winning record of 567-302-115. He received of the 2008 Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s coach of the year.

At this point some of the questions from the media put to the veteran coach had to do with him, and whether he was still interested in securing another head coaching spot.

“I don’t think there will ever be a time when I won’t want to be a coach,” said Boudreau “When I watch games on TV, I’m watching how they are set up system-wise, to see if anyone is doing something different.”

“There weren’t many NHL jobs open, but I did have a chance for an assistant position that didn’t work out,” added Boudreau.”Coaching in the NHL is something I still want to do and feel I’m capable of doing it, so I just have to wait and be patient.”

Boudreau will be doing NHL Network games, and he indicated that he will try to be as honest as he can, but that often gets him in trouble.

“I think Alex Ovechkin has a chance to break Wayne Gretzky’s record,” said Boudreau “To watch Alex’s growth from the kid I had at 20, to winning the Stanley Cup, the interviews he does now are well thought out, his English is much better, and he speaks from knowledge, where before he did it from enthusiasm.”

As the question-and-answer session ended, Boudreau said, “We thought this would be an ideal place for a team. It will be a totally different level than the AHL, but we think the fans will accept and support us. Hopefully Hershey players will stop around to talk to these kids and likewise our team will watch the Bears in the Giant Center.

“We will also have people in Hershey Park Arena to explain that history to our kids, who I think they will be in awe of the place, when they hear the stories about the place,” concluded Boudreau.

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