Like most of his new teammates, defenseman Alain Goulet entered Boston Bruins Development Camp not knowing exactly what to expect, but after being chosen by the Black & Gold in the 6th round, 160th overall, at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft in Columbus, he is just enjoying the ride.
And a lot of other people are enjoying his hockey journey as well.
“It felt great when I saw my name on the draft,” said Goulet. “I went crazy.
"And my whole family was with me, so it was a good experience.”
His little hometown of Kapuskasing, Ontario also embraced Goulet’s accomplishment.
“I am from a small town; the population is about 9,000,” explained Alain. “Hockey used to be big there.
"So the town is really proud of me and all the things I have accomplished.”
His 8,999 (or so) neighbors in town may have known that Alain was destined for the pros, but Goulet did not have much time to get used to the idea of being Bruins property before he needed to hop a plane in order to travel to Wilmington, Massachusetts for Boston’s camp.
“I didn’t really think I would ever be here,” he said during camp. “When I was young, I was just playing on the pond and I ended up really liking hockey, so I just pursued it.”
Development Camp went very well for the young defenseman, who spent last season playing for the Aurora Tigers of the OPJHL.
“I have been learning a lot of new things and meeting a lot of new guys," said Goulet. "It has been awesome.
“All the guys are nice and talkative, so it has been nice meeting them."
His favorite part about hockey is being with the team, but he loves being on the ice just as much.
“I love just not thinking about anything else and just enjoying myself out there,” he said, thoughtfully.
Alain certainly seemed to enjoy himself out on the ice at development camp and he played solid defense against some of the B’s top prospects like David Krejci
and Milan Lucic
. But, true to his thoughtful nature, his expectations from camp were simple.
“I just wanted to get to know the staff and players,” he said. “And I wanted to get a feel for the NHL level."
Goulet’s first strides into the pros are enough to satisfy him -- for the time being.
Later this month he is off to the University of Nebraska-Omaha to pursue a college degree, play in the CCHA and follow in the footsteps of fellow Bruin, forward Jeff Hoggan, who starred there from 1999 until 2002.
UNO is his top priority, but the work that he was putting in to begin his college career was very apparent even at camp. Goulet was the sole skater wearing the full mask on the first day in Wilmington. He said he was trying to get used to the feel, as the full mask is required in the NCAA's. However, for the rest of the week, he went back to the half-shield.
More importantly, however, Goulet will pack his most significant discovery of the week to take with him to college.
“I learned that you have to be really in shape, and that you have to work really hard off the ice to perform well on the ice,” he said aping the sentiments of everyone at the B's inaugural Development Camp.
Although his coaches at Nebraska-Omaha and throughout the Bruins system would certainly agree that you must work extremely hard to make it at either level of play, his week in New England was also about having fun off the ice, as well.
Alain’s favorite off-ice activity was definitely his trip to Fenway Park, where he attended a Red Sox game against the Blue Jays.
“I couldn't wait,” he said. ‘I have seen the Jays play before, but I have never been to Fenway.”
Goulet got the chance to taste a little bit of the NHL (as well as a Fenway frank) during his week in Boston.
And chances are, someday, he’ll be coming back for more.