Not many university hockey players get to experience the thrill of playing for the university where they grew up. However, for Carleton Ravens men’s hockey forward Alexandre Boivin, that’s what he’s doing.
Boivin grew up in Orleans, a suburb of Ottawa.
“I spent a big portion of my life there, I mean, this past year was the first year that I moved away from Orleans full time, and it’s got a special place in my heart,” Boivin said.
“I love Orleans, and I love everything about Orleans. The people, my home, my family, my friends, I associate all that towards Orleans, so, it definitely has a big part of my heart,” he added.
22 km. That is the distance between where Boivin grew up to where he now plays his hockey games as a Raven.
Like every young boy, Boivin spent time playing with his brother and sister, and their friends, as well as playing hockey and growing into the sport he now plays at a varsity level.
“My fondest memories are being outside all day and playing all kinds of sports, and then being excited to go to the rink that night and to play hockey,” Boivin said.
Boivin gravitated toward his older brother as being an inspiration to him.
“I think, naturally, that’s kind of the case when you have an older brother, and he was four years older than me, and playing all kinds of sports, and he was also a good hockey player, so, I think I kind of gravitated towards him and he kind of led by example in that sense,” Boivin said.
With his brother being an inspiration to him, Boivin was able to have a good relationship with him and his sister.
“I was close with my sister and brother, and we spent a lot of time together, and I think they always supported me through what I was doing,” Boivin said.
“I remember them being out at all my hockey games, and I would always be at their hockey games, and stuff like that, so, we were really close and we had a good relationship,” he added.
When they say “always lead by example,” Boivin’s siblings were supportive of him due to his parents being supportive to each of them.
“I think the most important part is they supported me in whatever I wanted to do. You see now with these parents that are pretty intense about their kids doing certain things,” Boivin said.
“But for me it was really being there for me with whatever I wanted to do and I had everything I needed, everything I wanted, I was very fortunate,” he added.
Boivin’s early childhood memories include going to the rink early in the winter mornings.
“I remember my dad was actually helping me out as a coach, and I remember waking up at 5 am and having my dad come pick me up out of my bed and throw me in the car and off we went to the rink, and I’d get dressed in the back seat,” Boivin reminisced.
In the summer, Boivin’s memories revolve around spending time outdoors with his siblings and friends.
“I used to organize a road hockey game. Almost every day we’d try and get that, and we’d all meet up at the park in the tennis courts, and we’d play a big game of road hockey, and then after that, we’d be jumping into our buddies’ pools, or running around,” Boivin recalled
And due to all the childhood friends Boivin made and hung out with, he’s had the opportunity to remain friends with them to this day.
“My two roommates now are childhood friends that I grew up playing hockey with and growing up with. We were all really close, I had a group of friends, probably ten of us within bike distance, so we’d all get on our bikes and meet up at a certain area, and we’d bike around all day,” Boivin said.
To this day, Boivin’s parents still live in the house he was born into. Despite the fact that he is now living elsewhere in the city, his childhood bedroom is still the same as when it was before he moved out for hockey.
“My room is still very well untouched from when I was a child, which is funny, because I went away and I was playing hockey elsewhere, so, it has some trains on the walls,” Boivin said.
Before moving away to play for teams outside of Ottawa, Boivin began his Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL) career with the Gloucester Rangers.
While on the Rangers, Boivin played in 59 games, recording 17 goals and 31 assists for 48 points.
“Obviously playing with the same guys continuously year after year was special. I just remember all those away tournaments in hotels, and they’re friends that I still cherish to this day, and we were always good, we always had a competitive team, so it was fun,” Boivin said.
In his teenage years, Boivin went and played hockey for the Pembroke Lumber Kings of the CCHL, and for the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).
While on Pembroke, Boivin played in 54 games, recording 26 goals and 64 assists for a total of 90 points.
“Pembroke was a small town, and that was special in itself. I think just the people rallying around hockey there, and the hockey culture that’s around Pembroke, and the legacy that they’ve left behind with their junior team, that was a great experience. I had a great roommate, had a great family that I lived with there, and that’s what was really special for me,” Boivin said.
While on Quebec, Boivin played in 95 games, recording eight goals and 22 assists for a total of 30 points.
“Quebec City is a big city, and it’s beautiful, and the people there are awesome, and I learned a lot about culture, and obviously, the Quebec Remparts team is a special organization within the CHL, and being able to play with a ton of talented players, and I lived in a great home with great people, so, that experience was unbelievable,” Boivin said.
But just like every young teenage boy that moves away to play hockey, Boivin was slightly homesick.
“I hadn’t really experienced much else, I was there for a vast majority of my life, and moving away to play hockey, I went to play in Quebec City, and Pembroke, and those are great cities, but it definitely wasn’t home, and when you start getting homesick, you realize where your home really is,” Boivin said about the fact that Ottawa is truly where he’s from.
Because Boivin has played on many local teams for most of his life, he has grown fond of playing in his hometown, and deep down, it means a lot to him.
“I think the biggest part is just having my family being able to come to the games. I know they love that, and I’ve always loved having them, and being able to see them as much as possible, so, I think that’s the most important thing for me, is having my family close, and to be able to support me at the games,” Boivin said.
Due to his family being close by, family was a big part of Boivin’s decision to commit to Carleton University.
“A big factor was wanting to be home with my family. I’d spent the past three years away. And Marty Johnston, the coach at the time was a big influence too, I knew how good of a coach he was, and I knew how great the players were, and the guys and the program, so it was really a no brainer,” Boivin said.
Throughout the years of playing in Ottawa, Boivin has also had the chance to pinpoint what his favourite part of the city is.
“There’s just so much to do. There’s so many events going on, there’s so many places that you can go depending on what your interests are, and I think there’s just something for everybody,” Boivin said.
“I’ve never been a fast-paced guy, so living in Toronto or places like that has just never been for me, so I really like how low-key Ottawa can be and how there’s always something that can be done,” he added.
When Boivin wraps up his university career by the end of 2019-2020, and when he finishes playing hockey if he decides to go pro, he is able to picture himself settling down in Ottawa, the place where he grew up.
“I think I want to go play in Europe, if that’s a possibility. We’re a year away from that now, so it’s hard to really think of, but I think when I’m done playing hockey, all said and done, I really do think I’ll settle down in Ottawa.”
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