LEWISTON – Dan Bouchard spent many of his 15 National Hockey League seasons taking opposing forwards to school. A top-notch goaltender, Bouchard recorded seven 20-win seasons in the NHL, and once won 32 games playing for the Atlanta Flames.

Now, Bouchard will help school the young netminders in the Lewiston Maineiacs’ organization.

“I’m all about helping (Maineiacs’ coach Clem Jodoin) identify who’s going to be the best player, the best goalies,” Bouchard said. “Also, creating a good development process, so the kids we bring in, we don’t just drop them when camp is over.”

Bouchard and Jodoin worked together in the early 1990s on the staff of the Quebec Nordiques. Both have extensive ties to hockey in Europe, and the two kept in touch.

“We always kept a good relationship, we always kept in touch,” Jodoin said. “I asked him if he wanted to come up and he agreed. We’ll see what he can do.”

In recent years, Bouchard has maintained a presence in the game.

“I coached in Europe and some consulting in Europe, too,” said Bouchard, who also helped two teams to the Continental Cup. “I was there for about 10 or 12 years, even while I was coaching with the Nordiques, I was working in Europe. I always kept my contacts there.”

From there, Bouchard became part of the faculty at Life University in Atlanta, where he still lives. He also founded a club hockey team at the chiropractic college.

“In the summertime, I do a camp with kids, I have a camp in Europe,” Bouchard said. “In Atlanta, I have some kids, one of them just got signed by a prep school, Cushing. I also work with a kid, David Caruso, who signed with the Thrashers.”

That reputation, Jodoin hopes, will bring some fresh ideas to the Maineiacs’ goaltending ranks.

“Dan Bouchard will bring us something different,” Jodoin said. “He’ll bring experience from the National Hockey League. He brings a new dimension to the hockey team. He brings life. He’s a very positive person. He has energy, I like that.”

The team’s former goaltending coach, Marc Champagne, was released due to a set of circumstances with customs officials. Plagued by problems crossing the border, Champagne was limited to contact with the team when it crossed into Canada.

“I still have to thank Marc Champagne for the job he did last year,” Jodoin said. “We couldn’t bring him back because of the border situation. He couldn’t get his working permit to be part of this organization.”

In town for a couple of days, Bouchard already likes what he sees in the Maineiacs’ organization.

“They have good depth, and they scouted well,” Bouchard said. “That’s the whole issue. Now, it’s for us to evaluate the talent and get them to the next level.”

While ideally the team would bring Bouchard on full time, it cannot.

“I’ll be here five or six days per month,” Bouchard said. “I’ll make sure we have the goalies always in tune, make sure the leadership aspect is in place, and we also want to make sure as a whole, the organization always has two good goalies behind.”

“For sure, we’d like to be able to have a goalie coach full time, but we’re a small team,” Jodoin said. “We have to respect the budget we have.”

Bouchard, who is employed in the credit card processing business, can travel and work from almost anywhere in the world, so quick trips to Maine won’t be a problem.

As for the job, Bouchard’s quick reply was almost a given.

“It was a no-brainer,” Bouchard said. “I like the game of hockey because I like to get people to the next level, to bring success to their life. That’s the fun part for me.”


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