Thunder claps for Boaz
MacGregor’s Blake Boaz will suit up for the Concordia Thunder in Edmonton beginning this fall. (Lukas Punkari/Fort Frances Times)
After a trying last season with the SIJHL's Fort Frances Lakers, Blake Boaz has a new lease on his hockey life.
Boaz will be taking his talents to Edmonton to suit up for the Concordia University College of Alberta Thunder on a scholarship.
Boaz said he talked to a couple different schools, but opted to attend Concordia to be closer to his brother, as well as to play with former Laker teammate Tyler Stevenson, who was second on the team in scoring last season.
"He did some pushing for me to come, and I always liked playing with Tyler," said Boaz, who will take a bachelor of management program at the school. "It seemed like a good fit."
The Thunder posted an 8-15-3 record in 2011-12, but Boaz said from talking to Stevenson, things seem to be on the right track.
"They were a young team. They have quite a few returning guys," said Boaz. "He thinks they'll be stronger this year, and hopefully I can contribute to that."
Boaz knows plenty about working with a rebuilding squad, as he was a member of a Laker club that struggled mightily in its inaugural season in 2009-10, made significant strides the following year, and challenged for a league title this past season.
He hopes to use that experience to help guide the Thunder to an Alberta Colleges Athletic Association title.
"Just because you have a weak year one year doesn't mean you can't grow from it," said Boaz, rattling off a laundry list of teammates who were with him all three seasons. "You get familiar with each other, and by the third year, game in, game out, we're relying on Byron (Katapaytuk), Henry (Gutierrez) and Jaret (Leclair). They were some of the top players in the league.
"We all went through that first year where it was a little rough, but we proved that if you're patient enough and you work at it, things can come from it."
For more, please see Friday's edition of the Portage Daily Graphic.