By Fran Sypek
©2006 The Republican
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Jonathan Boutin was born and raised in Granby, but he couldn’t speak English.
That’s because the Granby of Boutin’s youth was not in Western Massachusetts, but rather in the Canadian province of Quebec, where French is the native language. Like most French-Canadian goalies, Boutin began his path to professional hockey in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
But today’s QMJHL is not his Pepe’s junior hockey league. When the American Hockey League began to abandon the Canadian Maritimes, pro teams were replaced by QMJHL teams, and Boutin began his career with the Halifax Mooseheads in Nova Scotia.
Despite its name, the province is mostly English-speaking and the 16-year-old from Granby, PQ, needed to learn a new language.
“I went to high school and took English courses,” said Boutin, who was the starting goaltender for the American Conference in the ECHL All-Star Game.
Today, Boutin speaks nearly flawless English, but admits he still needs to learn more. He feels the same about goaltending.
Boutin, who is 8-9-2 with two shutouts and save percentage of .920 in 19 games with Johnstown of the ECHL, likely will get a chance to work on his goaltending skills this weekend when the Springfield Falcons play three games in three days.