Born on October 5th, 1986, Alex Bourret played Midget AAA for the Magog Cantonniers in the province of Quebec. In June 2002, the Sherbrooke Castors, who moved to Lewiston, Maine the following season, selected him first overall at the QMJHL entry draft.
The Saint-Guillaume, Quebec born player recorded 28 points in 2002-03. His production increased to 63 points last year. With 30 games played so far this season, the 5’10, 210-pound center has 45 points (17 goals and 28 assists) which places him fourth in league scoring.
On November 15th, Bourret was named QMJHL Offensive player of the week. A few days later, he was playing for the Quebec team at the ADT Russia-Canada Challenge.
Columbus Blue Jackets President and General Manager Doug MacLean has seen the 2005 eligible Bourret playing against the Russians. He commented to Hockey’s Future, “He’s obviously a good-looking first round pick. I don’t know where it will all sort out. I’m anxious to hear from my staff where he really fits in. He’s a gamer.”
His performance could have justified an invitation to the final camp of Team Canada junior. He would have liked to have a chance of showing what he is capable of, but it seems there is just too much talent in Canada this year.
“I can confirm to you that unfortunately he won’t be invited this year,” Bourret’s agent IMG’s Richard Paquette told to Hockey’s Future in the Jacques-Plante Arena in Shawinigan on December 3rd.
“In a normal year, he would have had the chance to be there, but he will have an other opportunity next year,” said Paquette.
A hard worker
There is an explanation for the success that Bourret is having so far this year.
“I worked hard last summer,” said Bourret to Hockey’s Future while he played in Montreal. “I was invited to the IMG’s summer camp in L.A. last summer, but I preferred to stay in Quebec because I haven’t seen a lot my family over the season being away in Lewiston. My agent has paid for me to have a personal trainer who came every day from Montreal to Drummondville. I did train hard, seven days a week. But I’m happy of the results.”
“I knew that I was well prepared for the season, but I didn’t think I would have as much success. I must recognize that playing with good players, like Alexandre Picard helps me a lot.”
Paquette is proud of Bourret’s successes and thinks that he deserves it. “He worked really hard last summer both on and off the ice under the supervision of Pierre Lessard, a former QMJHL player who has learned technical training tips while he played in Europe.”
He’s got grit
“My role model is Darcy Tucker, I like his style. He is not easy to play against,” said Bourret.
Some observers say that Bourret is reminding Dale Hunter, with better skating capabilities. Others instead think to Mark Recchi with Bourret having more upside roughness.
The fact is that Bourret is very fast. He has offensive skills, with a talent above the average for passing the puck to available teammates. He plays both sides of the ice and shows off every night. He is solid on his skates and likes the physical game. With 71 hits so far this season, he ranks first in this department among the first ten QMJHL scoring leaders.
“Earlier this season, he fought against Sidney Crosby protector Eric Nielson (2004, L.A. Kings, 5th round),” recalled Richard Paquette.
“He is a true warrior,” said Paquette when asked to describe Bourret in a few words.
“I have excellent acceleration, I’m not big but I can play a physical game and I like to do so,” said Bourret.
Bourret admits his father is the one who has played the most important role in his development so far. “You know, he is a trucker and a very hard worker. He works 100 hours or so per week. I have always said to myself that I would not do his job and rather choose a job I like.”
Lewiston MAINEiacs center is generating a lot of interest among the scouting community. His value is increasing. Scouting firm ISS has ranked him 10th overall for the NHL 2005 draft on its November list.
“I just want to be drafted, really, just getting drafted. For many years, I’m been told that I’m too small for being drafted by an NHL team.
“I’m proving my point. I’m showing that I can play against taller guys and be among the league’s best players. That is why if I’m just drafted, at any rank, I’ll be very happy.”
Bourret is very direct and shows a lot of determination. He has a lot of character and completely dedicated to his goal.
Historical data shows that an average of 55 percent of the NHL draftees never play a game in the NHL. It also shows that 29 percent of the first round draftees do not succeed to make a career in the NHL, not succeeding to play more than 200 games.
Hockey’s Future readers can bet that Bourret will not be part of those two statistics. If he stays away of the injuries, he will enjoy a successful career in the NHL, and hockey fans will enjoy watching him.
Simon Richard is the author of La Serie du siecle, Septembre 1972, a book about the Summit Series published in 2002.
Copyright 2004 Hockey’s Future. Do not duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.