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Warroad legend Henry Boucha revels in Stanley Cup festivities

About 2,500 people celebrated with hometown star T.J. Oshie as he brought home the Stanley Cup Tuesday. photo by Eric Hylden/Forum News Service1 / 2
Henry Boucha, a hockey in legend in Warroad, who played in the NHL, photographs his second cousin T.J. Oshie. photo by Eric Hylden/Forum News Service2 / 2

WARROAD, Minn.—Henry Boucha couldn't resist.

After watching T.J. Oshie, his second cousin and Warroad's first Stanley Cup champion, bring the prized trophy back to the northwest Minnesota town Tuesday morning, the legendary Warrior player had to get in a jab at rival Roseau.

"As the emcee Jess Myers said, it's the second time the Cup has been here," Boucha said. "When Buff (Dustin Byfuglien) brought it to Roseau, they had to land the plane in Warroad. That's got to be a teasing point for the Roseau Rams there."

Boucha, the 1972 Olympic silver medalist and former NHL player, was full of pride in his hometown Tuesday. Boucha flew from his current home in White Bear Lake, Minn., to be part of Oshie's Stanley Cup festivities.

"We had Gigi Marvin winning the gold," Boucha said. "We have T.J. bringing the Stanley Cup. It just goes to show you that small towns can compete and do well outside of the community through hard work and through community efforts. You've got to give a lot of credit to Marvin Windows, the Marvin family and the community of Warroad for keeping the ice time free here.

"You can see the results. A gold medal and a Stanley Cup. What's better for a small town, called Hockeytown, than this right here?"

Boucha, who is first cousins with T.J.'s father, Tim, first saw Oshie at Warroad hockey schools when he was little. Oshie would make the trip from his native Washington state to participate.

"He's always been a competitor," Boucha said. "When we had hockey schools in the early 90s, T.J. was 4, 5, 6 years old when he did it. You could tell right then that he was going to be a fantastic player.

"When he came to live here in 2002, he fell in love with the game. He got all the ice time he could possibly handle. And look at the result. He's a Stanley Cup champion."

Although Boucha and Oshie are second cousins, Boucha said, "we're really like immediate family. It's really a treat. He's like a son to watch and encourage and celebrate with."

Oshie brought the Stanley Cup to Warroad during the morning and flew back to the Twin Cities in the afternoon and evening.

He brought the Cup to MAP Hockey, where he trains, in the afternoon, and held a private party for family and friends at night.

But Oshie said he wanted to fit a Grand Forks and UND trip in his plans, but it didn't work out.

"My plan originally was to come here (to Warroad) in the morning," Oshie said. "I was only going to be here for an hour and a half or two hours if I was lucky. I was going to stop in Grand Forks and then go back to Minneapolis in the afternoon.

"But the team's not in Grand Forks right now. A lot of the alumni who I've invited for the night version part of the day are coming down to Minneapolis. It just made it too hard for the people who wanted to be at The Ralph when I brought it there and wanted to come at night. It kind of freed up some time for us."

Grand Forks isn't the only place Oshie also wished he could bring the Cup.

"Seattle," Oshie said, "where I lived the first 15 years of my life, where I started played hockey. The Seattle Junior Hockey Association would have been really special to bring it there, especially with all the family we have out there.

"I only get 14 hours, so I'm trying to spread the wealth and share it with as many people as I can."

The Washington Capitals didn't designate a day with the Stanley Cup for UND's Shane Gersich and former Minnesota forward Travis Boyd, who both played limited games for the Capitals this season.

So, Oshie decided to share part of his day with the two Twin Cities products.

Gersich and Boyd were able to invite some family members and friends to the private party at night.

Gersich joined the Capitals at the end of his UND season in the spring. He played in five total games for the Capitals, including two playoff games. Boyd played eight regular-season games for the Capitals and one in the playoffs.

"There's a tight bond there at North Dakota with the way they treat each other and the way it's a real family-oriented school and team to play for," Oshie said. "So, it's going to be great to spend that with (Gersich). When don't need to mention where Boyd played, but it will be fun to have him along too."

Brad Elliott Schlossman

Schlossman is in his 13th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2016 and 2018, he was named the top beat writer in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He also was the NCHC's inaugural Media Excellence Award winner in 2018. Schlossman has voted in the national college hockey poll since 2007 and has served as a member of the Hobey Baker and Patty Kazmaier Award committees.

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