Ava Boutilier traces her start in hockey back to one of her best friends.
The Charlottetown native said Lauren Clark’s father, Ewan, was coaching a novice A team for the Charlottetown Minor Hockey Association year ago. They asked if she wanted to play, and she decided to give it a shot.
She played defence in those early days, but her calling appeared to be in a different position.
“I liked to stand at the top of the crease and block shots,” Boutilier said.
When the goalie was unable to play for a bit, the coach looked at the young defenceman and asked if she would try being the goalie. The positive young girl said sure.
“I literally fell down as soon as I stepped on the ice in Simmons and I couldn't get back up. I got pushed to the crease and I laid there and kind of flopped around for an hour.”
But the love for the position and sport was forged. Her grandfather, Ken Campbell, picked her from the rink that first day as a goalie.
“I looked at my grandfather and said, ‘Poppa, I am going to play on the Olympic team – as a goalie’,” Boutilier recalled.
She begins her third season as the University of New Hampshire Wildcats’ goalie tonight and said she owes some of her success to those early days and the support of the Clarks and her family.