Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bruce Boudreau: A Pro Career That Started in the NAHL

bruce boudreau toronto maple leafs


Bruce Boudreau started his impressive minor pro career in the North American Hockey League with the Johnstown Jets in 1975-76. He played just 34 regular season games with the Jets and nine in the playoffs. Yet, he produced at nearly a point per game with 60 points on 25 goals and 35 assists. Boudreau played 30 games in the World Hockey Association with the Minnesota Fighting Saints, contributing just nine points.

At that pace, playing a full 74 game schedule, Boudreau was on pace for 54 goals and 131 points. Very impressive potential numbers, especially for a rookie, but a far cry from the league leaders that year with Alain Caron scoring 78 and Joe Hardy tallying 208 points. Both played for the Beauce Jaros. Bruce was coming off an Eddie Powers Trophy year in the OMJHL, leading the league with 165 points on 68 goals and 97 assists in 69 games for the Toronto Marlboros. It was his third of three years with Toronto.

Boudreau also appeared in nine games during the Lockhart Cup playoffs. The Jets finished the regular season in first place in the West Division but were knocked out of the playoffs in the second round.

Pro Playing Career

Bruce was taken in both the WHA and NHL Amateur Drafts. In 1974, the Minnesota Fighting Saints chose him in the first round of the WHA Amateur Draft, 14th overall. The following year, the Toronto Maple Leafs selected him in the third round of the NHL Amateur Draft, 42nd overall.

Boudreau played pro hockey from 1975-76 to 1991-92 in the NAHL, WHA, NHL, CHL, AHL and IHL, with also some time spent in Germany. He appeared in 141 NHL regular season games with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Black Hawks. In 1987-88, Bruce was awarded the John B. Sollenberger Trophy as the American Hockey League’s top scorer, totalling 116 points for the Springfield Indians.

Coaching Career

Boudreau has been coaching since 1990-91 when he was player / assistant coach of the IHL’s Fort Wayne Komets. He has coached in the IHL, ECHL, AHL and is currently a head coach in the National Hockey League.

Although a Stanley Cup has eluded him since his NHL coaching career began in 2007-08, Boudreau won a Kelly Cup in the ECHL in 1998-99 with the Mississippi Sea Wolves and a Calder Cup in the AHL in 2005-06 with the Hershey Bears. Bruce is currently in his second year as head coach of the Anaheim Ducks after four and some years behind the bench for the Washington Capitals.

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