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Vancouver Province article (Boychuk could be a Canuck)

June 16 2008 at 7:18 AM
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N. W. Bruin  (Login NW_Bruin_GM)

Boychuk could be a Canuck

That would be something for two-way forward to sing about
Scott Cruickshank, Canwest News Service; Calgary Herald

Published: Monday, June 16, 2008

CALGARY -- As it turned out, Zach Boychuk did hear the request correctly.

The Washington Capitals did want him to sing.

Sing? Yes, sing.

Zach Boychuk is ranked eighth among draft-eligible North American skaters.

File photo - Getty Images

In a blur of interviews with 23 teams at the National Hockey League's prospects combine in late May in Toronto, this oddball demand, not surprisingly, stood out.

But what's a guy to do?

Clear his throat, that's what.

"They'd asked me what my favourite movie is, and I'd said, Billy Madison,'' recalls Boychuk. "There's a song in there [Adam Sandler] sings about going back to school. So I sang the song that Billy Madison sings.

"It was pretty embarrassing while I was doing the singing, but they were laughing pretty hard."

The rest of the meetings were much smoother.

"Pretty cool," says Boychuk. "I got to meet some general managers, some scouts. It was a lot of fun. They were all pretty similar interviews with all pretty much the same questions -- strengths, weaknesses -- and personal questions, like about my family. A few teams even asked me some weird questions.

"Some teams like to take different approaches. A fun experience."

Agents of the Central Scouting Bureau liked what they saw from Boychuk, a projected two-way centreman, ranking him eighth among all North American skaters.

But the kid has been on the hockey map for years.

And thanks to a late birthday -- Oct. 4 -- Boychuk got an extra year of seasoning, compared to prospects only weeks younger than him.

Which added up to three full seasons in the WHL before his coming-out party. He registered 163 points in his last two seasons.

"I'm really looking forward to getting it over with," Boychuk says. "It's been a goal of mine since I was little, to play in the NHL. Obviously, I'm really excited to get drafted, but that's just the start, the first step, and there's a lot of hard work after that."

A longtime fan of the Calgary Flames, Boychuk nevertheless harbours few draft-day preferences. He may even be scooped up by the Vancouver Canucks, who pick 10th.

"Well, obviously, it would be nice to stay in Canada, just for family reasons," he says. "But it really doesn't matter. I mean, going anywhere would be great."

Despite being under-sized -- a smidge over 5-foot-9 -- Boychuk owns a great set of wheels. He's also smart, fit and durable.

"I guess I'm an offensive-type player the past few years," says Boychuk. "I've definitely rounded out my game, so I feel that I'm a two-way player as well. I like to use my speed and my skill."

Friday night in Ottawa -- live in front of a national television audience and a sellout crowd at Scotiabank Place -- the Airdrie, Alta., kid will experience what he's been dreaming about forever.

"I don't even know how I'm going to react," says Boychuk.

"When that day happens, I'm just going to take it in and really enjoy it. It's one huge day in my life and I get to celebrate it with my family."

© The Vancouver Province 2008

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