Greenfield’s Asa Bouchard competing for Team USA in Prospects by Sports Illustrated Hockey World Cup

Asa Bouchard after receiving his Team USA jersey before the Prospects by Sports Illustrated World Cup in Toronto earlier this week.

Asa Bouchard after receiving his Team USA jersey before the Prospects by Sports Illustrated World Cup in Toronto earlier this week. CONTRIBUTED IMAGE

By THOMAS JOHNSTON

Staff Writer

Published: 06-18-2024 3:40 PM

Asa Bouchard is quickly making a name for himself in the hockey world.

The 12-year-old Greenfield resident was invited to a Prospects by Sports Illustrated hockey tournament — which is sanctioned by USA Hockey and Hockey Canada — in Toronto last summer and made an impression on the scouts and coaches there.

So much so that Bouchard was invited back this summer, as he was selected to compete in Prospects by Sports Illustrated World Cup for Team USA. The tournament begins on Wednesday in Toronto. 

“I found out a few months ago,” Bouchard said. “I was very excited and speechless. I didn’t know what to think because I didn’t know if I’d make it or not.” 

The tournament features teams from eight countries: USA, Canada, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Czechia, China, Italy and an All World Team. 

Bouchard made the trip to Toronto on Sunday. On Monday, he checked in to get his equipment and jersey, with Bouchard participating in his first Team USA practice on Monday evening. After, Team USA had a team bonding flag football barbecue. 

Tuesday was the opening ceremony, which took place at the Hockey Hall of Fame, followed by a team excursion later in the day. 

Games begin on Wednesday with the playoffs scheduled for Sunday. An All-Star game will be played Saturday night. 

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“I’m looking forward to being there and playing for Team USA,” Bouchard said. “I’m just proud to be representing Team USA and proud to wear a Team USA jersey.” 

Bouchard is competing for Team USA’s Silver 2011 squad. He is one of two players from New England on the team, with players coming from all over the country. 

Having the experience last summer competing in Toronto helped prepare him for the upcoming tournament, as he said he got a feel for what it’s like to compete against the best of the best. 

“It was really good hockey,” Bouchard said. “I had to get used to it. It took the first couple periods of the first game. It was just quicker and better hockey.” 

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Bouchard is already competing for Team USA. 

Bouchard attends 413 Hockey Academy in Agawam, whose website states it’s “a progressive approach to a combination of athletic training and education for hockey players in the 6th-9th grade.” 

Along with doing traditional school work at 413 Hockey Academy, Bouchard gets to spend four hours either on the ice, in the gym, doing yoga, working on shooting or even time working on the mental aspects of the game to become the best possible hockey player he can be.  

“Three days a week at school we practice,” Bouchard said. “I’ve been playing in a summer league that really gets me ready so I won’t be rusty.” 

The results have paid off. This past season, Bouchard competed in the Federal Hockey League where in 51 games he totaled 78 goals and 48 assists for 125 points. That led all 2011 born players in the league. 

The rising eighth grader will have a chance to impress a litany of scouts up in Toronto this week. 

With the top players from their age group around the world in Toronto at one time, as you’d imagine, there will be scouts from all the major leagues, ranging from the Canadian Hockey League (CHL), NCAA, Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL), United States Hockey League (USHL) and North American Hockey League (NAHL). 

“There’s going to be a whole bunch of scouts there from the NCAA through junior teams to junior leagues,” Bouchard said. “It’s all exposure. I want to work hard and put myself out there for scouts.”

Bouchard plays the center position, but said he’d be willing to play whatever the coaches ask him to play this week.

“I like passing, scoring and of course, defense too,” Bouchard said. “I usually play center but I’ll be ready for whatever coach tells me to do.”

Outside of hockey, Bouchard is looking forward to meeting his teammates and getting to know people from other parts of the country. He also said he’s looking forward to meeting those from around the world and is looking forward to the jersey swap with another player once the tournament ends. 

“I’m looking forward to being there and playing for Team USA,” Bouchard said. “It’s going to be fun meeting kids from different states and countries. It’ll be fun going to the Hall of Fame and seeing all the different things over there.” 

And, of course, Bouchard is hoping to bring some gold back to Greenfield. 

“Winning for Team USA would be nice and cool,” Bouchard said.