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From Cub To Cougar: Connor Bouchard Sharpens His Claws For Next Season

Bouchard's stellar performance this season is just the beginning, as he eyes further growth and aims to elevate his game

Cochrane’s Connor Bouchard has been tearing up the ice with Calgary’s Mount Royal University (MRU) Cougars and was named U Sports men’s hockey Player of the Year last month.

U Sports is the national sports governing body for universities in Canada. 

As the name suggests, the Player of the Year title is reserved for the most outstanding player in U Sports men’s hockey.

Bouchard was crowned the best at the All-Canadian Awards Ceremony in Toronto, the site of the 2024 championship tournament

Connor Bouchard, who plays forward for the Cougars | MRU Cougars
Connor Bouchard, who plays forward for the Cougars | MRU Cougars

For the first time in over 53 years, the University of British Columbia’s Thunderbirds won the event. 

Even though Mount Royal’s Cougars didn’t win the championship, Bouchard shone brighter than ever this season. 

Looking at Bouchard’s accomplishments, the talented athlete is more than qualified for the honour of Player of the Year

With five seasons under his belt with the Western Hockey League’s Tri-City Americans, Bouchard has become the pride of the Cougars.

He is the second Cougar in three seasons to clinch this prestigious award.

Bouchard wrapped up his sophomore year with the Cougars, boasting impressive stats across 26 games – netting 57 points with 23 goals and 34 assists, including 12 on the power play. 

For those who know hockey stats, his scoring prowess averaged a staggering 2.23 goals per game, complemented by a solid +31 plus-minus. If you don’t know hockey stats, trust us, these numbers are impressive!

Bouchard’s season was a highlight reel. His 24-point streak made him the first since the 2000-2001 season to break through the 50-point barrier. Again, impressive!

“It’s been really good, and MRU’s been the perfect fit for me, personally. So, I’m really enjoying it,” Bouchard told the Cochrane Eagle

Bouchard credits his success to the synergy within his team.

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

Reflecting on his achievements, Bouchard is all in for the team and aims to spearhead their charge for national championship glory in the upcoming season. 

The 2023-2024 MRU Cougars  MRU Cougars
The 2023-2024 MRU Cougars | MRU Cougars

Ready To Heat Things Up On The Ice

While three or four players will graduate next year, most Cougars will be around next year. 

“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,” explained Bouchard. 

Bouchard, a hometown hero from Cochrane, cherishes his roots and plans to prepare for the next season by training in his old stomping grounds. 

“I loved my time playing minor hockey, and I still have buddies in Cochrane that I played with. I still have memories of being there, and I plan on working out in Cochrane this spring and summer,” he said. 

Currently studying sports management at MRU, Bouchard aims to extend his playing days and transform his passion for hockey into a long-lasting career.

As Bouchard gears up for another year with the Cougars, he’s grateful for the perfect fit MRU has provided him – from the bond with teammates to the support from the coaching and school staff.

With a season of stellar performance behind him, Bouchard is nowhere near satisfied. He’s eyeing further growth and is determined to elevate his game to even greater heights.

A young Connor Bouchard when he played for the Okanagan Hockey Academy  CSSHL  YouTube
A young Connor Bouchard when he played for the Okanagan Hockey Academy | CSSHL | YouTube

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