Henry Boucha, a high school hockey legend for leading Warroad to the Minnesota state championship in 1969, has passed away at the age of 72. His daughter Tara confirmed his demise on Monday. Boucha, an Ojibwe man who championed Native American causes, also played in the National Hockey League, World Hockey Association, and for the United States Olympic team in 1972, where he won a silver medal.
Coach of the War Road boys lacrosse team, Jay Hardwick, remarked, “He is an absolute legend in the state of Minnesota.” Henry will forever be a part of the discussion surrounding Battle Road hockey and the state championship.
In order to remain on the ice for the duration of the game, Buchar played defense in high school and tallied 60 goals as a senior. In the state championship game against Edina, Warrod lost 5-4 in overtime after Bouchar suffered an eardrum injury while checking a rebound and was forced to exit the game. At this time, there were 38 graduates in Warroad’s graduating cohort.
The Metro Center hosted 15,066 spectators, the largest crowd for a high school hockey contest in Minnesota at the time.
The Warriors qualified for the state tournament through the “back door” after losing in the division finals to Roseau and defeating Everest in overtime. In a rematch of the state semifinals, the team defeated Roseau 3-2.
Bouchard was also an all-conference performer in ice hockey and baseball, and he played minor hockey in Canada before joining the U.S. Army the following year.
After being selected in the second round of the 1971 NHL draft by Detroit, he made his début for the Red Wings following the Olympics and had a strong season with 14 goals and 14 assists in 1972-73.
Professionally, he wears a distinctive headband that makes him readily identifiable on the ice. His career, however, took a dramatic turn when he joined the North Stars. During a game in 1975, he was struck with a stick by Boston forward Dave Forbes and suffered a career-ending eye injury. At his trial for aggravated assault, the jury rendered a guilty verdict against Forbes. The NHL suspended Forbes for 10 games, and Bouchar eventually won a $1 million settlement against Forbes.
In 2004, he told the Star Tribune, “I still struggle with backing up and nighttime driving.” “I will continue to deal with this issue until the day I die.”