Getting to know: Shawn Boutin
Genting Casino Coventry Blaze defenceman Shawn (Morton) Boutin’s hockey career got off to an ideal start, being picked in the first round of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft by his home-town team the Val-d'Or Foreurs.
“Being drafted by the Foreurs was a dream come true,” said the former Captain. “Playing in front of family and friends for five years, I could not have asked for more. I’m still involved with the team actually, having the privilege of helping with training camps and getting the chance to practice until my season starts.”
Boutin turned pro in 2011 with the Arizona Sundogs of the now defunct Central Hockey League. The following year, the right shot defenceman was to sign with the Stockton Thunder of the East Coast Hockey League where he would stay for two-and-a-half years. During that time he played a pivotal role in the club winning a Western Conference Championship in 2013, in the process reaching their first Kelly Cup finals, losing out 4-1 to the Reading Royals.
In January 2015, with the Thunder struggling for consistency, the 5’10” defenceman was traded to Idaho Steelheads, with Head Coach Richard Kromm (now scout for the Chicago Blackhawks) saying, “We're looking to shake things up a little bit.”
It was to be a positive move for Boutin, showing his offensive prowess with 10 points including 6 power-play assists in his first 16 games with the Steelheads. Last season, staying in Idaho, as Alternate Captain, the Canadian’s defensive game was well evidenced. Taking on more of a shut-down role, the right shooter went on an impressive streak of 23 games without a negative plus/minus rating.
“I found myself playing against the first opponent trios. I wanted the points as well, but the priority was to have a good first duo of defenders and when we focused on doing that, the team got better.”
At 26-years-old, Boutin now takes the step to Europe, Coventry being the destination, a move he says he has been pondering for some time.
“I've been planning to come play in Europe for about two-years, I just wanted the best fit for me and I'm sure this is what I will get with the Blaze.”
When Shawn arrives at the Skydome Arena, he’ll be met by a familiar face from Idaho in 2014/15, Blaze’s leading goal and point’s scorer of last season, Brett Robinson.
“I am really excited to be playing with ‘Robbo’ again, we had a great chemistry together in Idaho and hopefully we can bring that to Coventry!”
Robinson said of being a teammate and past opponent of the new Blaze number 27, “I played against and with ‘Boots’ for two years. Playing with him is so much easier! He is a very tough competitor and will never stop working! ‘Boots’ can easily frustrate opposing forwards with his agility and quickness from the back-end. He’s always in your face and has a lil’ nastiness to his game which I know the Blaze faithful will enjoy. I'm very excited to have him on my side for another season. His puck moving ability is something you can never have enough of, and with his great offensive instincts he will make us better in all situations. He's a lot of fun to be around, and is a huge addition to this team both on the ice and off it.”
Reflecting on his own attributes, Boutin similar to Robinson says, “I'm the kind of player that wants to win. I skate well and I like to move the puck to my teammates. I take pride in my defensive play but I also like to produce offensively, on the power-play or 5-on-5.”
A strong feeling that his style of play will fit in well in the Elite League is just one reason Shawn says of his decision to leave North America, insisting he wants to “experience something new.”
“I like to visit and see new things, I’m looking forward to a new life experience. Off the ice, I also love music and history. Back home my hobbies are fishing and hunting so I like the nature a lot.”
Boutin will make his Blaze debut against the Nottingham Panthers at the Skydome Arena on Wednesday 24th August (7.30pm) and concludes, “I know the league will be competitive every night. It will be a battle to win and I am excited to get the season started and meet all of you guys!”
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