Henry Boucha

Henry Charles Boucha (born June 1, 1951) is a retired American professional ice hockey centerman. Boucha played 247 games over 6 seasons in the National Hockey League for the Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota North Stars, Kansas City Scouts and Colorado Rockies. His career was cut short by an eye injury.

Henry Boucha
Born (1951-06-01) June 1, 1951
Warroad, Minnesota, U.S.
Height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight 195 lb (88 kg; 13 st 13 lb)
Position Center
Shot Right
Played for Detroit Red Wings
Minnesota North Stars
Minnesota Fighting Saints
Kansas City Scouts
Colorado Rockies
National team  United States
NHL Draft 16th overall, 1971
Detroit Red Wings
Playing career 19711977
Website henryboucha.com

A full-blooded Chippewa Ojibwa, Boucha's distant cousin Gary Sargent and his second cousin T. J. Oshie also played in the NHL.

Amateur career

Boucha played high school hockey for Warroad High School in Warroad, Minnesota leading his team to the 1969 state tournament where he was injured during a 5–4 overtime loss to Edina. He is considered to be one of the best players to ever play Minnesota high school hockey.[1]

While serving in the US Army, Boucha joined the United States national ice hockey team on a full-time basis in 1970 as the US won the "Pool B" qualification tournament. He participated in the 1971 Ice Hockey World Championships in Bern, Switzerland where he scored seven goals in ten games for Team USA. Boucha was also one of the biggest stars of the 1972 United States Olympic hockey team that received the silver medal.

Professional career

Boucha was drafted in the 2nd Round, 16th overall by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1971 NHL Entry Draft (he was also drafted first overall by the Minnesota Fighting Saints of the rival World Hockey Association but chose not to defect to the WHA). Boucha scored a goal in his first NHL game after the Olympics and was voted Detroit rookie of the year in his first full NHL season. The Red Wings sent him to the Minnesota North Stars in exchange for Danny Grant in 1974. Boucha was enjoying a solid year in his home state; on January 4, 1975, he was assaulted in a highly publicized stick incident by Dave Forbes of the Boston Bruins. The attack left Boucha with a cracked bone around his eye and blurred vision. Forbes was prosecuted for aggravated assault. His trial resulted in a hung jury.[2]

Boucha never really recovered from the injury. He attempted a comeback with the Minnesota Fighting Saints of the WHA in 1975–76 and then returned to the NHL as a free agent with the Kansas City Scouts in later 1975-76. In 1976 the franchise moved Denver, Colorado and became the Colorado Rockies where he retired from professional hockey after only nine games.

Before the NHL required players to wear a helmet, Boucha wore a headband. His nickname was "the Chief".

Post career

Boucha fell on hard times due to his unexpectedly early retirement from hockey (his agent was negotiating a four-year contract with the North Stars but the talks were never completed due to the injury). He went through a period of divorce, drug & alcohol abuse [3] before straightening out his life in the 1980s. In recent years, he has been active in various Native American causes.

Awards and achievements

International play

Olympic medal record
Men's ice hockey
Representing  United States
Olympic Games
1972 Sapporo Team
  • Ice hockey world championships, Pool B, 1970 (first, won promotion to Pool A)
  • Ice hockey world championships, Pool A, 1971 (sixth place)
  • Olympic tournament, 1972 (second place)

See also

References

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