By Yoos, Cam on April 13, 2018.
They’re on the ice when no one is there.
Come puck drop, they’re usually relegated to cheerleader.
In the midst of a playoff run, the healthy scratch may spend most of their time out of sight, yet they still remain a presence.
As the Hurricanes prepared for Game 4 of their Western Hockey League Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Brandon Wheat Kings, Jacob Boucher was among those scratches taking a morning skate in a quiet – and empty – Westoba Place Wednesday morning.
This spring, you probably won’t find his name on the starting lineup, but the Hurricanes ninth-round, 187th overall, draft pick in the 2017 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft is happy to be along for the post-season ride.
“It’s still an incredible experience as a young guy, just getting to be with the boys and experiencing the playoffs,” said Boucher, a five-foot-seven, 150-pound left winger from St. Albert who turned 16 last month.
As the rest of the Canes geared up for Game 4 later Wednesday, Boucher and the rest of the scratches had their day start with a low-key ice session.
“Usually we eat breakfast pretty early so we can get to the rink and have a good morning skate,” said Boucher. “We go for lunch after and get the afternoon off and then it’s game time.”
And that’s the healthy scratches’ time to step aside.
“We usually let them do their thing,” said Boucher of the players pencilled into the lineup. “They all have different rituals, so we don’t want to get in the way. We just hang out inside the dressing room then we head upstairs and watch the game.”
Boucher still got in some post-season action before joining the Hurricanes, advancing to the second round of the Alberta Midget Hockey League playoffs with the Fort Saskatchewan midget AAA Rangers.
“It was pretty good,” said Boucher, who had six goals and 21 points in 35 games with the Rangers in the regular season and was a teammate of Noah Boyko, who was drafted in the first round and 16th overall by the Canes in last year’s bantam draft. “We got to the second round, but we didn’t get the chance to make it further.”
The Hurricanes return to the Enmax Centre for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinal tonight at 7 p.m.
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