Bochek enjoying his last year of Junior Hockey

October 25, 2023, 9:25 am
Ashley Bochek

Bochek is focusing on his last season of junior hockey and then see where his hockey career may take him.

Kyle Bochek of Moosomin, Saskatchewan plays for the Niverville Nighthawks in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL).

Bochek played the past two years for the Vancouver Giants in the Western Hockey League (WHL). Upon his release from the Giants, the Niverville Nighthawks reached out offering opportunities making it an easy decision for Kyle.

“After last season I had an exit interview and my general manager let me know it wasn’t in the cards for me to play as a 20-year-old forward on the Vancouver Giants because each dub team is only allowed three 20-year-old players and actually Niverville found me. I never even heard of the place until they reached out and I had a lot of good chats with the coach. They made me feel like they really wanted me, and I would really be appreciated and get a lot of opportunity here, so it was a fairly easy decision.”

Bochek spends every day at the rink training on and off the ice between practicing and working out.

“A typical day here is up at nine in the morning, have breakfast, leave for the rink around 9:30, we practice at 11 and after we workout in the afternoon sometime usually around 2 o’clock. Practices are every day, but we only workout a handful times a week depending on games.”

Bochek enjoys his team and say they all get along. They have started out strong as a top three team in the east division with eight wins.

“My team is great. We are a tight group already and we had a nice hot start to the year. Right now, we have I think seven or eight wins out of 10 games so not too bad of a start and it is only going to get better as the season goes on.

‘Such a good group of guys returning, and they were awesome. They included everyone for anything so at the end of the day everyone feels welcomed here and everybody has each other’s backs, and we all get along. It kind of happened, just one of those magical things.”

The longest bus ride Niverville has is eight hours to The Pas where the Opaskwavak Cree Nation (OCN) Blizzard’s play. Bochek says it is a very long stretch and a long day of riding the bus.

“Trips are pretty short other than our longest trip to play OCN in The Pas which was a very long stretch of about 8 hours. That weekend we played in Swan which was about a six-hour bus ride then up North to The Pas. It takes a whole day to get there or home after. Other than that, everything else is within 2-3 hours so that is really nice.”

Bochek is an assistant captain of the Niverville Nighthawks and is honoured to be acknowledged as a leader and a role model on the team.

“It is pretty cool to be acknowledged as a leader on this team and to be looked up to by a bunch of the younger guys and to be a role model. It is an honour to where an “A” on my jersey.”

Bochek lists some of the roles as an assistant captain and the responsibility that comes with being a leader of the team.

“Nothing crazy, you manage the guys and the team. Your always involved in planning stuff, organizing, and always giving feedback to the coach. Being an assistant captain, you’re being an ambassador in between representing the players and the coach. You have to represent both parties every day and it is not a whole lot of work, but some days can be. Honestly, you don’t even really notice it other than when you’re wearing the jersey. Guys just in general look up to you as being a veteran anyways with or without the letter. It’s an honour and a privilege and the best way to go about things is as if you don’t even have one, I think.”

Niverville, just South of Winnipeg is where the Nighthawks play. Bochek is billeted just South of Niverville in a small town.

“Niverville is like a Melville, I think. There are about 6,000 people and it is a booming place. People don’t want to live in the city, but still close to the city. They just built a brand-new rink here and a brand-new school. There are a lot of projects going on here. I am billeted about 10-15 minutes South of Niverville in a town called Sainte-Agathe.”

Bochek plans to attend a post-secondary institution with his two-year WHL academic scholarship.

“I think I am probably going to end up going to post-secondary somewhere. Playing in the WHL you get a scholarship. For every year you play you get a year of school paid for and that applies to everything whether that is University, College, or Trade or anything. It is whatever kind of post-secondary school that you choose. I have two years of a scholarship from playing with the Vancouver Giants in the WHL to use toward my post-secondary schooling.”

Bochek is focusing on his last season of junior hockey and then see where his hockey career may take him.

“I would love to continue playing after this obviously. I would probably get bored in the wintertime not playing, but right now I am just focusing on my last year of junior hockey, and we’ll see what happens in the spring.”