As fifth year Carleton Ravens men’s hockey forward Alexandre Boivin gets set to stride into his final year on the team, his future of going pro is helped by two European road trips four years apart.
Coming on to the team as a first year for the 2015-16 season, Boivin got the chance to bond with the team throughout their Europe trip.
“I didn’t really know what to expect, and I didn’t really know what to expect of the guys on the team as well, so I think just everyday was a fresh day of understanding what Europe was about and what our team was about,” Boivin reminisced.
Following the Europe trip, the Ravens went on a 20-7-1 record, earning them third place in the Ontario University Athletics East division with 41 points. They then went on to clinch a spot at nationals where they lost to the Saskatchewan Huskies in the quarterfinals in a thrilling multi-overtime game.
“We went to nationals and were really, really successful, and I think a big part of that is how we came together right off the jump,” Boivin recalled.
As the years progressed, Boivin has steadily improved as a player. In his fourth year, he was second in team scoring behind first-year forward Jake Smith.
To further prove Boivin’s improvement, former and current Ravens teammates have noticed his growth and desire to try out for a pro team following his university career.
“Just everyday he’s trying to get better, and I know that he wants to make the step to the next move, and it’s showing in his play and in his work ethic on and off the ice,” Ravens defenceman CJ Garcia said.
With the Ravens trip to Europe last week, the trip not only gave the chance to allow the first-years to bond with the older players, it also allowed Boivin to get a more recent feel for European hockey before he starts exploring his pro opportunities come April.
“I know he opened a lot of eyes playing here, and I’m sure he did at the other places he played along the way on their trip here, but I know my coaches here were asking about him after the game, he’s a really good player,” former Ravens captain Joey West said. West plays on the Les Gothiques d’Amiens team that played Carleton.
The Europe trip also allowed the Ravens to have some practice games before their regular season. And although they faced some tough teams in Amiens of the Magnus league (the top league in France) and Schwenninger of the DEL league in Germany, Boivin and his team went on to win three out of their four games along the trip.
“That’s top end hockey down there, and we’ve played some of the best hockey I’ve seen in all of Carleton, so, to see our team perform like that right off the get go of the season, it’s really, really exciting, and I think the future is bright for us,” Boivin said.
As the Ravens get set to start their exhibition and regular season games back in Canada, Boivin will be focusing on replicating last season in the hopes he can win a championship in his final year.
“Obviously, it’s bittersweet. I’ve spent five years here, which is a fifth of my life at Carleton, so again, it’s bittersweet, and I’m just going to try and enjoy my last year,” Boivin said.
Along with the success in Europe, Boivin is also excited for the fact this year’s recruits are the best class of recruits in his time at Carleton.
“I think, arguably, it’s the best recruit class we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Boivin said.
“I think it’s a hard transition from junior to CIS, so obviously it’s going to be on them to try and adapt and adjust as quickly as they can, but I really, really think that our new recruits are going to play a big role in our team this year,” he explained.
Although he will be focusing on the season one game and day at a time, deep down, Boivin will also be thinking about going pro next season.
“It was a cool experience for me to be able to play against some teams like that and to be able to try and prove myself over there, and show what I’m capable of, so, I haven’t really figured out where or what I want to do, but I’m definitely, definitely going to be looking to go play in Europe next year.”
For Boivin, the end of the 2019-20 season will mark the beginning and end of something. After Carleton, he will face the next chapter of his life. However, there’s still the last year at Carleton, the end of his time there looming. “A little bit of closure,” he noted.
“There’s so much left to do. There’s so much more that I want to do at Carleton and that I want to do as a team at Carleton, so obviously I’m just looking forward to this year, the last year, and I’m going to really enjoy it,” he added. “But to me it’s about winning this year. It’s one thing I haven’t done here yet and it’s the last thing to check off my list.”