By Kris Smith
The Kitmart Dundee Stars have acquired a valuable asset in François Bouchard, the 6ft 1 Canadian will add a lot of fire power in the offensive zone. With many impressive seasons in some of the hockey world’s top leagues, he brings a wealth of experience as well as some outstanding on ice skills.
Talking after his first practice session with his new teammates, François said: “I just arrived this morning and came to the rink right away, later on I think Pach is going to drive me around a bit and show me the ropes here in Dundee but so far it looks like a really nice city.
“I had to meet everyone today in the arena, all the staff and players, it is good to be here, and I am really excited.”
Pacha and Bouchard are close friends and François believes it was the perfect time for him to come to the UK.
He said: “It was an easy decision, I have known Omar a long time and I have been talking to him for a couple years now.
“This year was good for me and my family, I have talked to my family and they are ready to go another couple of seasons, so I talked to Omar and we found a deal that was a win-win situation for both of us.
“I have heard good things about the league and good things about Dundee, so I was really excited to come in yesterday and I haven’t felt like that for a while, so it was good to be back.”
The 30-year old did not ice for any team last year but Bouchard says that it was “good” for him.
“The year out was good for me, I didn’t have to think about anything, but now I have worked hard this summer, I was working out a lot and playing a lot of hockey and now everything is great.” said François.
He continued: “I am just really excited about the season, I know it is a long season and there is a lot of travel.
“I have been playing hockey since I was a kid and I have travelled a lot, I know what it is.
“I am not really worried about that.”
The two-time Calder Cup Champion won the AHL playoffs in back-to-back seasons with the Hershey Bears and that combined with his offensive skills is why Pacha brought him to Dundee.
Bouchard added: “I think Pach brought me here for my offensive instinct and I think I can be good on the powerplay and to put some points on the board.
“Plus, with my experience I have played a couple of years in the American league, I got drafted and played some exhibition games in the NHL.
“So, I think all the experience and the fact we have a young team, I think he wants me to be a leader here and bring the guys together.
“That is going to be my big role this year.”
The Quebec native was drafted in the second round (#35 overall) by the Washington Capitals in 2006 and was selected before some big names, such as Brad Marchand, Milan Lucic and former Star, Kevin Quick. However, nothing beats the moment he lifted the Calder Cup, twice.
François explained: “My two championships were the best moments of my life, I still think about it every once in a while.
“I still have good memories of them, so of course my plan is to win here in Dundee, like Pach says all the time we have to go game after game.
“I have had one practice session yesterday and I think we have a good mix of everything, good goalies, good defence and a lot speed up front.
“I think it could be an interesting year.”
François is excited to see the buzz of the crowd this weekend after hearing a lot of positive things about the fans and the club.
He said: “I am excited to be here, and I can’t wait to see the crowd and how good they are, I have heard good things from Pach.
“I am really excited and hopefully we can win a championship and bring the cup here to Dundee.”