Matthew Boucher, son of former Penguins defenseman, returns to ‘Mario’s place’
When Philippe Boucher was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins by the Dallas Stars in November of 2008, the timing was absolutely perfect in one way.
Boucher’s son Matthew was a few weeks shy of his 11th birthday. It’s a formative time for a young sports fan, and the playoff run that followed in the spring was something he’ll never forget.
“I was in Detroit when they won, so that was awesome,” Boucher said Thursday. “I think every kid and every player dreams of that. To be able to witness that and experience it was amazing.
“Just being in the room after the game, I was obviously a little young to understand all the emotions going around with the players, but being at Mario’s place with the families for the parties was awesome.”
This week, Boucher is back at Mario’s place, in a sense. He’s participating in Penguins development camp at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry as an undrafted free agent.
How Boucher managed to go undrafted is a bit of a mystery. He’s an excellent skater and he scored at least 27 goals in each of his three junior seasons with the Quebec Remparts. It’s probably because he’s only 5-foot-9.
After four years in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Boucher moved on to the University of New Brunswick, where he won a national championship last season.
Going to Canadian college is a fairly unconventional path to a pro hockey career, but Boucher remains motivated to do just that. He wears a bracelet with the inscription “Prove them wrong” as a reminder of his goals.
“It’s kind of a bummer, not getting drafted, but I use it as motivation,” Boucher said. “I like proving people wrong. I wear it on me every day.”
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review assistant sports editor. You can contact Jonathan by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .