After the Canadiens acquired Michael Bournival during the 2010-11 season in the trade that sent defenceman Ryan O’Byrne to the Colorado Avalanche, the Chicoutimi Sagueneens forward described it as a dream coming true.
“I was surprised (to be traded),” said Bournival, who was selected by the Avalanche in the third round (71st overall) at the 2010 NHL entry draft. “I wasn’t expecting that, but it’s the same thing as playing for the Cataractes. I watched the Canadiens my whole life, and being traded to them was like a dream coming true.”
After Bournival, as team captain, led the Sagueneens to their first Memorial Cup championship last season, HIO’s Mike Boone was so impressed that he predicted Bournival would make the Canadiens out of training camp this season.
“The guy who caught my jaundiced eye was Cataractes captain Michael Bournival.,” Boone wrote. “A left-handed shot playing right wing in the final, Bournival is fast, tenacious and creative in the offensive zone. His precise pass into the deep slot set up Anton Zlobin’s winning goal in OT.
“First fearless prediction of the offseason: Bournival will make the Canadiens out of training camp, and he’ll play on a crowd-pleasing Great Dane and Pure Laine line with Lars Eller and Louis Leblanc.”
Bournival made an impressive AHL debut with Hamilton on Saturday night, scoring the winning goal in a 4-3 shootout win over the Griffins in Grand Rapids, Mich. You can read the game report by clicking here.
Meanwhile, it looks like NHL labour talks won’t resume until at least Tuesday as the lockout drags on. Read more by clicking here.
SI.com has put together an NHL Lockout Survival Guide for fans. You can read that by clicking here. And the New York Times had a good feature on how the NHL lockout has been a boon for the KHL, which is enjoying its most high-profile season since its inception in 2008. You can read that article by clicking here.
The Bulldogs’ next game will be their home opener on for Friday at 7:30 p.m. when they play host to the Toronto Marlies at Copps Coliseum. All Bulldogs games during the month of October will be broadcast on Hamilton’s Funny 820 (AM 820) and on Montreal’s TSN Radio 690 (AM 690). Fans can also listen to and watch all Bulldogs games on hamiltonbulldogs.com. Live coverage with the broadcast team of play-by-play announcer Derek Wills (all home and away games) and colour commentator Al Craig (all home and select away games) will begin with the pre-game show 30 minutes before the scheduled start time.
You can read a column Pat Hickey wrote about how Bournival was the poster boy for last season’s Memorial Cup in Shawinigan by clicking here. And you can read why Hickey thinks the Canadiens have a bright future on the blue line because of Bulldogs prospects Jarred Tinordi and Nathan Beaulieu, who were both first-round draft picks, by clicking here.
You can read a feature by The Gazette’s Brenda Branswell on new Bulldogs coach Sylvain Lefebvre by clicking here and read another article on Lefebvre preparing for his newest challenge behind the bench by clicking here.
Kevin Mio wrote a feature story on Bournival last January under the headline: “Bournival dreams in bleu-blanc-rouge”. Here’s that article:
Michael Bournival says he is living a dream playing for his hometown junior club, and he hopes to live an even bigger dream of one day playing for the Canadiens.
For the 19-year-old Shawinigan native, playing at home with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Cataractes is special.
“It’s a privilege to be able to play in my city, in front of friends and family every night,” the 5-foot-11, 179-pound centre said. “I grew up cheering for the Cataractes, so playing for them is a privilege, and I am proud of it.”
The fourth-year junior player is on pace of a career high in goals, with 19 in 20 games, to go along with 14 assists. He scored a career-high 28 goals last season in 56 games.
The Canadiens acquired Bournival during the 2010-11 season in the trade that sent defenceman Ryan O’Byrne to the Colorado Avalanche. The Avalanche selected Bournival in the third round (71st overall) of the 2010 NHL entry draft.
“I was surprised (to be traded),” Bournival said. “I wasn’t expecting that, but it’s the same thing as playing for the Cataractes. I watched the Canadiens my whole life, and being traded to them was like a dream coming true.”
Bournival attended training camp with the Canadiens last fall and said the highlight was being able to play against his idol in an exhibition game.
“I had a chance to play against (Tampa Bay’s) Martin St. Louis at the Bell Centre,” Bournival said. “To be able to play two (preseason) games at the Bell Centre was very special for me.”
When the Canadiens sent Bournival back to junior at the end of training camp, he got back to work so he could improve his chances of making the leap to the professional ranks next season.
“I knew I had to continue to work hard and to continue to get better, in terms of execution and my strength,” he said. “So I have been working hard during practices to get better and in the gym as well.”
Bournival also had a chance to represent his country at this year’s World Junior Hockey Championship, winning a bronze medal.
“The experience I had and the things I learned there, I will keep them with me for the rest of my life,” Bournival said of his experience with Team Canada. “We didn’t reach the goal of winning gold, but the bronze still means something to me.”
Bournival said he doesn’t feel the fans and media put too much pressure on the junior team to win gold. He added that the pressure is more internal.
“Canadians are so used to winning gold every year, so the pressure comes from the organization and everyone around it,” he said. “The goal to win gold every year comes from inside the team.”
The crowds in Edmonton and Calgary for the junior tournament left a huge impression on Bournival, who managed only an assist in six games.
“During the games, the crowds were incredible right until the end,” he said. “I will remember that for the rest of my life.”
Bournival said he learned a lot about the little details during the tournament, such as off-ice preparation before a game. He also had a chance to interact with two other Canadiens prospects, Nathan Beaulieu and Brendan Gallagher.
“For sure, we had a chance to create a bond,” he said. “We know each other better now. But while at the tournament, we didn’t think of anything except that.”
The three will be at NHL training camp this fall, vying for a spot with the Canadiens.
Bournival feels he is ready to make the jump to the professional ranks next season. And as much as he hopes to earn a roster spot, he would be fine if the team sends him to the American Hockey League’s Hamilton Bulldogs.
“I will give my all to make the NHL,” he said. “But if that doesn’t work, I would like to play next season in Hamilton and not the junior ranks.”
When Bournival does make it to the NHL, it will be the culmination of a journey that began when he was 3. However, he didn’t get the hockey bug until the next year, when he finally got his hand on a stick.
“Before that, we were just skating around with a chair,” he recalled. “The following year, when we started with a stick and puck, when we started doing drills, that is when I really started liking it. My father was really supportive then, and instilled the passion.”
(Photo by Dario Ayala/The Gazette)