Skip to main content
The Official Site of the Vancouver Canucks

In the hunt

by Julie Robenhymer / Vancouver Canucks
In 57 games last season for the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL, Brock Boeser turned a lot of heads.

The 18-year-old put up 35 goals and 33 assists for 68 points, but it was his stellar defensive play that made NHL scouts take a second look and it's a very big reason why he was invited to USA Hockey's annual National Junior Team Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, NY for consideration to represent the red, white and blue at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship in Helsinki, Finland, starting Dec. 26th.

With the way things ended for the Americans the past two years - losses in the quarterfinals to Russia due in large part to 5-on-3 power play opportunities - the powers that be at USA Hockey are looking for guys who can contribute offensively, but can also play very well in their own end, especially on the penalty kill. All things Boeser excels at.

"I think my strengths are my shot, ability to score, playing a strong two-way game and my high compete level," he explained.

And all were on display at Herb Brooks Arena last week as he scored three goals and an assist in three games against Sweden and Finland; his play was noticed by the decision makers at USA Hockey.

"I've been impressed with him," said USA head coach Ron Wilson. "He's had a few really good games, but he's got to continue to work hard to make our team. We have a lot of depth and he might be on the bubble, but he's not a forgotten man. He's definitely still in the hunt. If he ends up making this team, we expect him to play a pretty important role. He's just got to continue to impress us."

That said, Boeser is well aware his work is not done.

"I can get a lot faster in my first three strides and be more explosive. I know I can be faster and I want to put in the work with my off-ice workouts to make that happen," he explained.

He'll have a lot of time to work on his off-ice training as he heads to the University of North Dakota later this month to begin his freshman year.

"I'm excited to get there and start playing games in front of the fans. I've heard it's unreal and I just can't wait," Boeser said. "I want to be a top guy there, produce for the team and get points, be someone they can rely on and help the team win. I know it won't be easy, but I'm willing to put in the work."

His already strong work ethic was only reinforced this summer as he saw first hand that good enough is the enemy of great. Between the NHL Combine, being selected 23rd overall by the Vancouver Canucks at the NHL Draft, attending Canucks development camp and now this evaluation camp for USA Hockey, Boeser has had several opportunities to compare himself with his peers and realized he has more to give.

"It's been a busy summer, but I'm not complaining. I'm happy to have all these reasons to be busy and I'm just trying to enjoy it and make the most of every opportunity," he said. "I think I've improved a lot this summer, both as a person and as a player. I learned that it takes a lot, maybe even more than I thought. I train with a lot of pro guys back home and just watching them you see that there's a lot of sacrifice and you need a lot of work ethic and you just need to be a big boy about everything and really commit yourself to get where you want to go."

While the long-range goal is a spot on an NHL roster, Boeser's short-term focus is on UND and making this US squad in December.

"It's definitely an honor to be here. With all the good players in this country, it's nice to be recognized in this way, but the goal is to make the team and I haven't done that yet," he said. "There are a lot of great players here and I just need to focus on what I can contribute and go out and show them what I can do. Just have to look forward to the season and play well and hope it works out for me come December."

View More