WESTLOCK - There is life after midget hockey and two Westlock minor hockey products made the best of it this season, helping lift their respective CJHL teams into the playoffs and earning praise from the league as second team all stars.
Blair Boulerice and Regan Regimbald are on opposite ends of their Capital Junior Hockey League careers with Boulerice turning heads in his first season with the Fort Saskatchewan Hawks and earning Rookie of the Year honours, while the big defenseman Regimbald had the best season of his career in his final year with the Morinville Jets.
In 33 games with the Hawks this season, Boulerice racked up 35 goals and 27 assists, bumping his team into the playoffs, where they bowed out in the first round.
Boulerice was a Westlock Warrior until his second year of pee wee, when he joined the pee wee ‘AA’ team in Fort Saskatchewan, graduated to bantam ‘AA’ in Morinville, then back to Fort Saskatchewan for bantam ‘AAA’ and midget ‘AAA’. It wasn’t long after that he found himself on the junior ‘B’ Hawks roster.
“I used everything I’ve learned growing up from people I look up to and had a fun year. I went out there, gave it my all and had a great season,” he said.
The Rookie of the Year award was just the cherry on top of that great season, and the all star accolades were another.
“It’s definitely an honour for sure. It’s kind of relieving because I was aiming towards that,” said Boulerice. “It’s definitely something that I will always remember as one of my greatest hockey memories.”
Boulerice credits the many coaches he’s had along the way for his success, with special mentions going to Darcy Romanuik.
“He kind of taught me the work ethic that’s needed, for life, pretty much. He’s a great guy,” said Boulerice.
As for the future, he has three seasons in front of him in the CJHL, but he’s exploring his options and will likely attend a Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League ‘AA’ camp, to test his mettle there.
For Regimbald, he’s not entirely sure his hockey career is over, but after four years with the Morinville Jets, he aged out of the CJHL this year and is currently working towards a career in aviation.
Like Boulerice, Regimbald left minor hockey in Westlock in his second year of pee wee to play ‘AA’ in Morinville. After his bantam years there, he graduated to midget ‘AAA’ in Fort Saskatchewan, went back to Morinville ‘AA’ for his second year, then back to Fort Saskatchewan for his final year in midget ‘AAA’.
He went on to play junior ‘A’ in Ontario for a short time, but made the decision to return to Alberta to pursue his dream of flying. He currently has his pilot’s licence and is working towards a commercial licence. He’s also enrolled at Grant MacEwan University.
He played all four of his CJHL seasons with the Jets and this year was joined by several other Westlock products and this year he put up more points patrolling the blue line than he ever has.
With 10 goals and 23 assists, Regimbald said he’s satisfied with his performance in his final year.
“It was weird because in the other three years, we had better all-around teams, our records were better and we won a lot more hockey games and we had guys that were getting 80-90 points. I don’t know, I just had a lot more confidence and the group we had was very good in the room,” he said.
“We just had fun and it was a lot easier to just go play hockey.”
The Jets made it to the second round of the playoffs this season, as they have in all of Regimbald’s time there, but couldn’t get over the hump.
Even though there were no championships in the cards for him Regimbald, the all star nod from the league meant a lot to him.
“The league doesn’t physically have an all star game anymore but it was a good feeling of being noticed for what I was doing on the ice and for my team and it was a rewarding feeling on my way out of junior hockey,” he said.
“And I owe a lot of that to my teammates, coaches and family for sure.”