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Electric Warrior

By Loren Nelson, Editor, 11/18/11, 10:07AM CST

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Top 100 pick Henry Boucha of Warroad, an ironman defenseman, had flair for the dramatic

Henry Boucha

Born: June 1, 1951

H.S. Class: 1969

Position: Defenseman

Rank
5

Status: Retired

Top 100 Scoring System

HOMETOWN HIGH SCHOOL COLLEGE
Warroad Warroad None

Notable stats

State Tourneys State Titles All-State Tourney NHL Draft Olympics U.S. Hockey HOF
1969 None 1969 16th overall (Detroit, 1971) 1972 1995

187

  • High School | Max 185

    183 points

  • State Titles | Max 10

    0 points

  • Post H.S. Career | Max 5

    4 points


Warroad defenseman Henry Boucha scored 60 goals as a senior in 1968-69, leading the Warriors to the state tournament. Star Tribune file photo

Warroad's Henry Boucha scored dramatic goal to catapult Warriors into 1969 state tournament


Henry Boucha scored the winning goals in Warroad's quarterfinal and semifinal victories at the 1969 state tournament. Star Tribune file photo

It was past the midpoint of the most important game of his career, and the blade of a wayward stick sliced Henry Boucha above his right eye.

The gash was deep and long. There was no stopping the flow of blood.

Warroad’s electrifying defenseman, notorious for playing entire games without leaving the ice, was forced into the hallways of Hibbing’s cavernous Memorial Arena to get medical treatment.

Boucha, now a senior, had been playing for the Warriors’ varsity since the eighth grade. Before that, as a youth player, he had led Warroad’s undermanned Bantam team in a stunning run to a state championship.

After playing as both a goaltender and a forward growing up, Boucha eventually settled in at defense, where the ice time and room to roam was abundant. Working from the blue line, Boucha could easily determine when and where to make his mesmerizing forays into the offensive zone.

Big, strong, fast and smooth, the 6-foot, 180-pound Boucha was a supremely gifted athlete (he also excelled in football, baseball and track) who was considered a sure-fire NHL prospect.

Now, with his last chance at a coveted state tournament trip hanging in the balance, he was bloody, bruised and in desperate need of a dozen or so stitches.

And fast.

Just days earlier, the Warriors had lost to Roseau 2-1 in the 1969 Section 8 championship game. Boucha’s last chance at a trip to the coveted state tournament came in the form of a “back door” matchup for the Section 3 title against Section 7 runner-up Eveleth.

The Golden Bears had made 12 straight state tournament appearances as the state’s dominant program, starting from the inaugural state tournament in 1945 through 1956. But Eveleth had taken the trip south to St. Paul just once since 1956.

Featuring a superstar of their own in sparkplug forward Doug Palazzari, the pressure was on the Golden Bears to end what had become an interminable dry spell for the hockey crazed town.


Warroad coach Dick Roberts, left, and Warriors defenseman Henry Boucha before the 1969 state tournament. Star Tribune file photo

Eveleth and Hibbing are separated by 28 miles of wilderness and iron ore mines. Warroad to Hibbing is 200-plus miles of pure back country. The Golden Bears had the capacity crowd on its side and, with Boucha off the ice, the game by the throat.

“There was a doctor from, I think he was from Eveleth,” said Boucha, who suffered the cut in the second period. “He was their team doctor. What he did was he butterflied (the cut) shut. That allowed me to go back out there.”

In the meantime, Warroad coach Dick Roberts was emptying his bag of tricks in an attempt to delay the game as long as possible.

“I called one of our defenseman over to the bench,” Roberts said. “He comes over and says, ‘What is the matter, Coach?’ I said, ‘Nothing is the matter, just stall for time. I want to get Henry out here.’ ”

With the cut sufficiently closed and his eye swollen shut, Boucha returned to the game. With the clock winding down and a third overtime period just seconds away, Warroad’s Frank Krahn whipped a pass to Boucha at the right point.

“It was right on the tape,” Boucha said. “Somebody yelled, ‘Shoot!’ I did, and the damn thing went in.

“We were all standing there in suspense. We didn’t know if the goal counted. If the goal judge hit the light when there was time left on the clock, the light goes red. If time had run out, it goes green.

“We were just suspended in time for what seemed like five minutes. As I glided up I saw the puck go in, and I looked at the light. It was red.”

The building exploded. Warroad fans went bonkers, some of them rushing the ice and mobbing the Warriors’ players as Eveleth’s coaches and players converged at the scorer’s table, insisting the goal shouldn’t count.

The goal did count. Warroad was headed to the state tournament.

"It would have been devastating if we had lost that game," Boucha said.

The doctor who patched up Boucha and got him back in the ice, although a hero in Warroad, received a chilly reception on the Iron Range.
 
“I heard he just about got run out of town,” Boucha said.

The 1969 state tournament was shifted from the St. Paul Auditorium to the sparkling new Metropolitan Sports Center in Bloomington. The arrival of Boucha had the capacity crowds approaching 16,000 buzzing with anticipation.

He didn’t disappoint.


Warroad's Henry Boucha (16) watches over a fallen teammate. Boucha suffered a ruptured eardrum during the 1969 state championship game against Edina. Courtesy photo

Boucha scored the winning goal in the third period of the Warriors’ 4-3 quarterfinal victory over Minneapolis Southwest. He repeated the feat in the semifinals, scoring the game winner in the third period in a 3-2 triumph over northern neighbor and arch rival Roseau.

In one of the most polarizing moments in state championship history, Boucha was knocked out of the championship game against Edina in the second period when his head was smashed against the Plexiglass during a collision with the Hornets’ Jim Knutson.

Boucha’s eardrum was ruptured, and he fell to the ice in a heap.

“When I got back up again, the rink seemed tilted,” Boucha said. “I lost my equilibrium. They took me to the hospital. I was at Ramsey (Medical Center) when they told me Warroad had lost in overtime.”

The Warriors were trailing 4-2 when Boucha was knocked out of the game. Both Roberts and Boucha say they believe Knutson’s intent wasn’t to inflict such a serious injury. It was as simple as a race for the puck and a collision in the corner, they say.

Photographs of the hit show Knutson’s elbow contacting Boucha’s head. Although Knutson received a minor penalty for elbowing, the pro-Warroad crowd was incensed.  Boos rained down on the Hornets every time they touched the puck.

“I would say 99 percent of the fans were cheering for Warroad,” said Al Hangsleben, another standout Warroad defenseman who also went on to play in the NHL. “Edina had one little cheering section. It was just unbelievable. We really didn’t realize what we were involved in until afterwards.”

Boucha spent three days in the hospital. He was flown out of St. Paul and back to Warroad on a private plane and received a hero’s welcome at the high school that night.
 
“They had a potluck and stuff,” Boucha said. “It was packed. Even some of the Roseau players came over.

“It was pretty special.”

Boucha, who scored 60 goals and added 35 assists as a senior, played junior hockey in Winnipeg after high school and was selected in the second round (16th overall) by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1971 NHL Draft.

He won a silver medal while starring for the 1972 U.S. Olympic team in Sapporo, Japan, and turned pro with the Detroit Red Wings after the Olympics in 1972.

Boucha played in 247 NHL games, including 51 with the Minnesota North Stars in 1974-75. His career was cut short when he suffered a cracked bone in his eye as the result of being hit in the head by the stick of Boston’s Dave Forbes. Boucha retired from pro hockey in 1977.

Boucha, who for years was heavily involved in Warroad’s youth hockey program, lives in Anchorage, Alaska, where he works in business development for the Alaska Manufacturing Extension Partnership. Boucha is also involved in a film project that focuses on Native Americans who have competed in the Olympics.

-- Loren Nelson, MN Hockey Hub editor


Edina's Jim Knutson, left, collides with Warroad's Henry Boucha during the second period of the 1969 state championship game. Courtesy photo

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Moorhead's Jack Stetz (21) throws his arms up as he and his teammates celebrated the win. ] ANTHONY SOUFFLE • anthony.souffle@startribune.com

Minnesota's Top 100 Players

Rank Name School Grad. Pos. Born Status St. Titles Mr. Hockey College Olym. NHL
1 John Mayasich Eveleth 1951 F 5/22/33 Retired 1948, 49, 50, 51 NA Minnesota (1951-55) 1956, 1960 -
2 Neal Broten Roseau 1978 F 11/29/59 Retired - NA Minnesota (1978-81) 1980 1,099 gms; four teams; 80-97
3 Phil Housley South St. Paul 1982 D 3/9/64 Retired - NA - 2002 1,495 gms; eight teams; 82-03
4 Tim Sheehy International Falls 1966 F 9/3/48 Retired 1964, 65, 66 NA Boston College (1967-70) 1972 27 gms; DET, HAR; 77-80
5 Henry Boucha Warroad 1969 D 6/1/51 Retired - NA - 1972 247 gms; four teams; 71-77
6 Mike Antonovich Greenway 1969 F 10/18/51 Retired 1967, 68 NA Minnesota (1969-72) - 87 gms; three teams; 75-84
7 Willard Ikola Eveleth 1950 G 7/28/32 Retired 1948, 49, 50 NA Michigan (1951-54) 1956 -
8 Mike Crowley Bloomington Jefferson 1994 D 7/4/75 Retired 1992, 93, 94 1994 Minnesota (1994-97) - 67 gms; ANA; 97-01
9 Dave Spehar Duluth East 1996 F 11/7/77 Retired 1995 1996 Minnesota (1996-00) - -
10 John Matchefts Eveleth 1949 F 6/18/31 Retired 1948, 49 NA Michigan (1950-53) 1956 -
11 Kyle Rau Eden Prairie 2011 F 10/24/92 Active 2009, 11 2011 Minnesota (2011- present) - -
12 Aaron Broten Roseau 1979 F 11/14/60 Retired - NA Minnesota (1979-81) - 748 gms; six teams; 80-92
13 Craig Norwich Edina East 1974 D 12/15/55 Retired 1974 NA Wisconsin (1974-77) - 104 gms; three teams; 79-81
14 John Pohl Red Wing 1998 F 6/29/79 Retired 1997 (Class 1A) 1998 Minnesota (1998-02) - 115 gms; StL, TOR; 03-08
15 Gary Sargent Bemidji 1972 D 2/8/54 Retired - NA Bemidji State (1972-73) - 402 gms; LAK, MIN; 75-83
16 Bob Krieger Edina 1970 F 10/5/52 Retired 1969 NA Denver (1970-74) - -
17 George Pelawa Bemidji 1986 F 2/14/68 Deceased - 1986 - - -
18 Bill Nyrop Edina 1970 D 7/23/52 Deceased 1969 NA Notre Dame (1970-74) - 207 gms; MON, MIN; 75-82
19 Tom Chorske Minneapolis Southwest 1985 F 9/18/66 Retired - 1985 Minnesota (1985-89) - 596 gms; seven teams; 89-00
20 Steve "Pokey" Trachsel Duluth Cathedral 1969 D 4/16/51 Retired 1966, 67, 68, 69 (Catholic) NA Minnesota-Duluth (1969-73) - -
21 Scott Bloom Burnsville 1986 F 2/6/68 Retired 1985, 86 1986 finalist Minnesota (1986-90) - -
22 Phil Hoene Duluth Cathedral 1967 F 3/15/49 Retired 1965, 66, 67 (Catholic) NA Minnesota-Duluth (1968-71) - 37 gms; LAK; 72-75
23 Corey Millen Cloquet 1982 F 4/29/64 Retired - NA Minnesota (1982-87) 1984, 1988 335 gms; five teams; 89-97
24 Reed Larson Minneapolis Roosevelt 1974 D 7/30/56 Retired - NA Minnesota (1974-77) - 904 gms; six teams; 76-90
25 Bob Young Hill 1971 D 3/1/53 Retired 1970 (Indep.) NA Denver (1971-75) - -
26 Brad Shelstad Minneapolis Southwest 1970 G 9/14/52 Retired 1970 NA Minnesota (1970-74) - -
27 Mike Ramsey Minneapolis Roosevelt 1978 D 12/3/60 Retired - NA Minnesota (1978-79) 1980 1,070 gms; three teams; 80-97
28 Matt Cullen Moorhead 1995 F 11/2/76 Active - 1995 finalist St. Cloud State (1995-97) - 966 gms; five teams; 98- present
29 Bill Baker Grand Rapids 1975 D 11/29/56 Retired 1975 NA Minnesota (1975-79) 1980 143 gms; four teams; 80-83
30 Paul Martin Elk River 2000 D 3/5/81 Active - 2000 Minnesota (2000-03) 2006 487 gms; NJ, PIT; 03- present
31 Wally Grant Eveleth 1945 F 12/8/27 Retired 1945 NA Michigan (1945-46, 47-50) - -
32 Brian Bonin White Bear Lake 1992 F 11/28/73 Retired - 1992 Minnesota (1992-96) - 12 gms; PIT, MIN; 98-00
33 Larry Olimb Warroad 1988 D 8/11/69 Retired - 1988 Minnesota (1988-92) - -
34 Dave Langevin Hill-Murray 1972 D 5/15/54 Retired 1970, 72 (Indep.) NA Minnesota-Duluth (1972-76) - 513 gms; three teams; 79-87
35 Joe Bianchi Bloomington Jefferson 1994 F 8/17/75 Retired 1992, 93, 94 1994 finalist Wisconsin (1994-98) - -
36 Peter Fichuk International Falls 1965 F 4/8/47 Retired 1964, 65 NA Minnesota (1966-69) - -
37 Jon Casey Grand Rapids 1980 G 8/29/62 Retired 1980 NA North Dakota (1980-84) 425 gms; three teams; 83-87
38 Doug Woog South St. Paul 1962 F 1/26/44 Retired - NA Minnesota (1963-66) - -
39 Darby Hendrickson Richfield 1991 F 8/28/72 Retired - 1991 Minnesota (1991-93) 1994 518 gms; five teams; 94-04
40 Paul Ranheim Edina 1984 F 1/25/66 Retired 1984 NA Wisconsin (1984-88) - 1,013 gms; five teams; 88-03
41 Steve Christoff Richfield 1976 F 1/23/58 Retired - NA Minnesota (1976-79) 1980 248 gms; three teams; 79-84
42 T.J. Oshie Warroad 2005 F 12/23/86 Active 2003, 2005 (Class 1A) 2005 finalist North Dakota (2005-08) - 184 gms; StL; 08- present
43 Scott Lecy Rochester John Marshall 1977 F 4/8/59 Retired 1977 NA Wisconsin (1977-81) - -
44 Scott Bjugstad Irondale 1979 F 6/2/61 Retired - NA Minnesota (1979-83) 1984 317 gms; three teams; 83-92
45 Mike "Lefty" Curran International Falls 1962 G 4/14/1944 Retired 1962 NA North Dakota (1965-68) 1972 -
46 Joe Micheletti Hibbing 1973 F 10/24/54 Retired 1973 NA Minnesota (1973-77) - 158 gms; StL, COL; 79-82
47 Rob McClanahan Mounds View 1976 F 1/9/58 Retired - NA Minnesota (1976-79) 1980 224 gms; three teams; 80-84
48 Nick Leddy Eden Prairie 2009 D 3/20/91 Active 2009 2009 Minnesota (2009-10) - 46 gms; CHI; 10- present
49 Tom Pederson Bloomington Jefferson 1988 D 1/14/70 Retired - 1988 finalist Minnesota (1988-91) - 240 gms; SJ, TOR; 92-97
50 Dave Christian Warroad 1977 F 5/12/59 Retired - NA North Dakota (1977-79) 1980 1,009 gms; five teams; 80-94
51 Jay North Bloomington Jefferson 1980 F 6/26/62 Retired - NA Harvard (1980-84) - -
52 Paul Johnson Breck 1953 F 5/18/36 Retired - NA - 1960, 1964 -
53 Pete Waselovich International Falls 1973 G 11/15/54 Retired 1972 NA North Dakota (1973-77) - -
54 Tom Kurvers Bloomington Jefferson 1980 D 9/14/62 Retired - NA UM-Duluth (1980-84) - 659 gms; seven teams; 84-95
55 Mark Osiecki Burnsville 1986 D 7/23/68 Retired 1985, 86 - Wisconsin (1997-90) - 93 gms; four teams; 91-93
56 Mark Pavelich Eveleth 1976 F 2/28/58 Retired - NA UM-Duluth (1976-79) 1980 355 gms; three teams; 81-92
57 Mark Parrish Bloomington Jefferson 1995 F 2/2/77 Active 1994 1995 finalist St. Cloud State (1995-97) 2006 722 gms; seven teams; 98- present
58 Bryan "Butsy" Erickson Roseau 1978 F 3/7/60 Retired - NA Minnesota (1979-83) - 351 gms; four teams; 83-94
59 Roger Christian Warroad 1956 F 12/1/35 Deceased - NA - 1960, 1964 -
60 Bill Christian Warroad 1956 F 1/28/38 Retired - NA - 1960, 1964 -
61 Trent Klatt Osseo 1989 F 1/30/72 Retired - 1989 Minnesota (1989-92) - 782 gms; five teams; 91-04
62 Erik Rasmussen St. Louis Park 1995 F/D 3/28/77 Retired - 1995 Minnesota (1995-97) - 545 gms; three teams; 97-07
63 Robb Stauber Duluth Denfeld 1986 G 11/25/67 Retired - NA Minnesota (1986-89) - 62 gms; LAK, BUF; 89-95
64 Joe Dziedzic Minneapolis Edison 1990 F 12/18/71 Retired - 1990 Minnesota (1990-94) - 130 gms; PIT, PHX; 95-99
65 Ryan McDonagh Cretin- Derham Hall 2007 D 6/13/89 Active 2006 2007 Wisconsin (2007-10) - 40 gms; NYR; 10- present
66 Craig Johnson Hill-Murray 1990 F 3/18/72 Retired - 1990 finalist Minnesota (1990-93) 1994 557 gms; five teams; 94-04
67 Matt Hendricks Blaine 2000 F 6/17/81 Active 2000 2000 finalist St. Cloud State (2000-04) - 137 gms; COL, WSH; 08- present
68 Wally Chapman Edina 1982 F 7/6/64 Retired 1982 NA Minnesota (1982-86) - -
69 Bob Paradise Cretin 1962 D 4/22/44 Retired - NA Saint Mary's (1962-66) 1968 368 gms; four teams; 71-79
70 Ben Hanowski Little Falls 2009 F 10/18/90 Active - 2009 finalist St. Cloud State (2009- present) - -
71 Damian Rhodes Richfield 1987 G 5/28/69 Retired - NA Michigan Tech (1987-90) - 309 gms; three teams; 90-02
72 Eric Strobel Rochester Mayo 1976 F 6/5/58 Retired - NA Minnesota (1976-79) 1980 -
73 Dick Dougherty International Falls 1950 F 8/5/32 Retired - NA Minnesota (1951-54) 1956 -
74 Gino Guyer Greenway 2002 F 10/14/83 Active - 2002 Minnesota (2002-06) - -
75 Jim Amidon International Falls 1963 F 2/18/45 Retired 1962 NA Colorado College (1964-67) - -
76 Karl Goehring Apple Valley 1996 G 8/23/78 Retired 1996 NA North Dakota (1997-01) - -
77 Rube Bjorkman Roseau 1947 F 2/27/29 Retired 1946 NA Minnesota (1948-51) 1948, 1952 -
78 Tony Bianchi Bloomington Jefferson 1989 F 12/15/70 Retired 1989 - Minnesota (1991-94) - -
79 Oscar Mahle International Falls 1957 F 8/22/39 Deceased 1957 NA Minnesota (1959-61) - -
80 Mike Randolph Duluth Cathedral 1970 F 11/5/51 Retired 1967, 68, 69 (Catholic) NA - - -
81 Aaron Ness Roseau 2008 D 5/18/90 Active 2007 2008 Minnesota (2008-11) - -
82 Doug Palazzari Eveleth 1970 F 11/3/52 Retired - NA Colorado College (1970-74) - 108 gms; StL; 74-79
83 Nick Checco Bloomington Jefferson 1993 F 11/18/74 Retired 1992, 93 1993 Minnesota (1993-97) - -
84 John Rothstein Grand Rapids 1975 F 10/28/56 Retired 1975 NA UM-Duluth (1975-79) - -
85 Gary Wood International Falls 1965 D 9/28/46 Deceased 1964, 65 NA - - -
86 Al Hangsleben Warroad 1971 D 2/22/53 Retired - NA North Dakota (1971-74) - 185 gms; three teams; 79-82
87 Doug Peltier St. Paul Johnson 1968 F 6/29/50 Retired - NA Minnesota (1969-72) - -
88 Mike Lauen Edina East 1979 F 2/6/61 Retired 1978, 79 NA Michigan Tech (1979-83) - 4 gms; WIN; 83-84
89 Max Oshie Warroad 1948 F 6/10/28 Deceased - NA - - -
90 Tom Gorowsky Centennial 2004 F 4/8/86 Retired 2004 2004 Wisconsin (2005-09) - -
91 Jack McCartan St. Paul Marshall 1953 G 8/5/35 Retired - NA Minnesota (1955-58) 1960 12 gms; NYR; 59-61
92 Doug Zmolek Roch. John Marshall 1989 D 11/3/70 Retired - 1989 finalist Minnesota (1989-92) - 467 gms; four teams; 92-00
93 Pete LoPresti Eveleth 1972 G 5/23/54 Retired - NA Denver (1972-74) - 175 gms; MIN, EDM; 74-81
94 Terry Abram South St. Paul 1965 D 2/14/47 Retired - NA North Dakota (1966-69) - -
95 Bill "Buzz" Schneider Babbitt 1972 F/D 9/14/54 Retired - NA Minnesota (1972-75) 1976, 1980 -
96 David Backes Spring Lake Park 2002 F 5/1/84 Active - 2002 finalist Minnesota State (2003-06) 2010 364 gms; StL; 06-11
97 Don Ross Roseau 1960 F 10/11/42 Retired 1958, 59 NA North Dakota (1961-65) 1964, 1968 -
98 Mike Polich Hibbing 1971 F 12/19/52 Retired - NA Minnesota (1971-75) - 226 gms; MON, MIN; 76-81
99 Chris Locker Duluth East 1996 F 10/14/77 Retired 1995 - UW-River Falls (1999-2000) - -
100 Herb Brooks St. Paul Johnson 1955 F 8/5/37 Deceased 1955 NA Minnesota (1955-59) 1964, 1968 -