Bruce Boudreau and his wife Crystal are returning to Hershey and they’re bringing a competitive hockey team with them.
The beloved former Capitals head coach has purchased a Tier III Junior A team in the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL). The Boudreaus also own the USPHL Premier Division’s Minnesota Blue Ox. Brady Boudreau, Bruce’s son, serves as an assistant coach there.
The Hershey club will play at the historic Hersheypark Arena during the 2021-22 season. The arena, which sometimes gets foggy during hockey games, first opened in 1936 and was the Hershey Bears’ home until 2002. The venue is the same place where NBA Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain had his 100-point game in 1962.
“Crystal and I moved back to Hershey because we love the people, the town, and the history,” Boudreau said in a release. “We started the Blue Ox in Minnesota, it went really well, and was a great addition to the community. We love working with the young men and the fans, and growing the game of hockey. We are hoping to do the same in Hershey. The only thing missing in the Hershey hockey landscape is a junior team. We hope to give back to the community, continue to grow the game, and share in the history of hockey in Hershey.”
Boudreau won a Calder Cup championship with the Bears in 2006 and was behind the bench during the greatest seasons of Alex Ovechkin’s career in Washington. Boudreau won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s coach of the year in 2008 after leading the Capitals to the playoffs. BBBB has amassed a 567-302-115 (.635) record in 984 regular-season games coached over his career.
The Hershey team’s name and logo will be released in the coming months.
More from the USPHL:
BRUCE BOUDREAU BRINGS USPHL JUNIOR HOCKEY TEAM TO HERSHEY
Former Bears and NHL coach purchases team set to play at Hersheypark Arena in 2021-22
(Hershey, PA-January 8, 2021)- Former Hershey Bears head coach Bruce Boudreau is back in Chocolatetown, and along with his wife Crystal, he’s bringing a new hockey team to Central Pennsylvania. The longtime NHL head coach has purchased a junior hockey team in the United States Premier Hockey League’s (USPHL) Premier Division that is scheduled to play in Hershey, Pennsylvania, at historic Hersheypark Arena beginning in the 2021-22 season.
The Hershey-based USPHL club will be a Tier III Junior A team in the league’s Premier Division. Players’ ages range from 17-to-20 years old. The league’s current footprint features 62 teams across the United States, including the nearby Skipjacks Academy in York, Pittsburgh Vengeance in Harmar Township, and the Philadelphia Hockey Club in Sewell, New Jersey. The Boudreau’s are also owners of the USPHL Premier Division’s Minnesota Blue Ox, where their son, Brady, serves as an assistant coach.
The team’s home of Hersheypark Arena will provide players an opportunity to skate in one of sports’ most historic venues. The Arena opened in 1936 and served as the home of the AHL’s Bears until 2002, while also hosting iconic moments such as NBA star Wilt Chamberlain’s record 100-point game in 1962.
With his recent relocation to the Central Pennsylvania area, Boudreau is returning to the town where he coached the AHL’s Bears to a Calder Cup Championship in 2006. In parts of three seasons as Hershey’s bench boss from 2005-07, Boudreau compiled a 103-45-11-16 record. He was promoted to Hershey’s NHL affiliate, the Washington Capitals in 2007, and has coached 13 seasons in the NHL with the Capitals (2007-2011), Anaheim Ducks (2011-2016), and Minnesota Wild (2016-2020). Boudreau, who won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s coach of the year in 2008, has amassed a 567-302-115 (.635) record in 984 regular-season games coached over his career.
“I am very excited to see the USPHL expand into the tradition-rich hockey market of Hershey,” said USPHL Commissioner Richard Gallant. “Hockey has been a big part of the Hershey community dating back 80-plus years, and for the USPHL to have Bruce and Crystal Boudreau with their lifelong hockey knowhow and experience introduce the USPHL to the local fans will be a home run for all involved.”
Boudreau added, “When we decided to bring a junior team to Hershey, the USPHL was the only league we considered. We feel it is the best junior program at its level, and we love working with Richard and the league to grow the game of hockey.”
Further information, including more on the selection of the team’s name and logo, will be released in the coming months.
Headline photo via Zack Fisch/Hershey Bears
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