The 2018 Winter Olympic Games are just around the corner and we couldn't be more excited. To honor our Mass natives selected to represent the United States on the men's and women's hockey teams, we sat down with each of them for a fun and light Q&A series that will lead you up and through the Games.
So iron out our Team USA jersey, ready your flags and perfect your U-S-A chant, and don't forget to include these Q&As in your Olympic preparation.
First up: Chris Bourque
Mass Hockey: What rink did you grow up playing at? Or did you prefer skating outdoors?
MH: What youth town/club program did you grow up playing in?
CB: Danvers Youth Hockey
MH: What is are some of your favorite memories from youth hockey?
MH: Did you ever imagine that you'd be wearing the red, white and blue at the Olympics?
CB: When I was a kid I did imagine wearing red, white and blue. I went to [watch] the World Junior Championships as a kid when it was held in Boston [in 1996] and after that I always wanted to represent USA. Playing in the Olympics was always a dream of mine and I am very excited and thankful to get the opportunity to do that this year in Pyeongchang.
MH: A lot of people assume the NHL is the only professional option -- but talk more about what your professional path has been like.
CB: My professional path hasn’t been the normal NHL path. I have played in the American Hockey League on and off for the last 13 years. I have also played in Europe in the KHL and Swiss NLA League. The NHL is obviously the top and most desired League to play in, but there are also many other leagues that have great hockey and are fantastic options to play in.
MH: How exciting and promising is it to see the next generation of Massachusetts players (Jack Eichel, Noah Hannifin) make a big impact in the NHL?
CB: It is very exciting to see. They are both excellent players and seem to have a bright future ahead of them.
MH: Why do you think Massachusetts continues to churn out Olympic and elite players year after year?
CB: I think Massachusetts will always have successful hockey players coming out of the programs because of all the great coaching and opportunities the kids are given to play. You can have great access to great rinks and great coaches all across the state. The level of talent seems to get better and better each year, which is obviously great to see.
MH: What is your fondest Olympic hockey memory?
CB: The 1980 USA Men’s Olympic team is definitely the greatest Olympic memory for me. I wasn’t born yet, but seeing footage of the game and the journey those guys went through was inspiring and something that I think our team this year can take some motivation from.
MH: What makes Massachusetts Hockey so special?
CB: I think what makes Massachusetts Hockey so special is just having the chance to represent Massachusetts Hockey. I take great pride in saying that I grew up playing hockey in the Boston-area and I want to add to the great legacy of players from Massachusetts Hockey.
MH: What are you looking forward to most about the Olympics?
CB: I am most looking forward to the whole Olympic experience. Walking in the opening ceremonies is something that I know will take my breath away. When I enter the stadium and realize this is something that I didn’t think would ever be a possibility until this year. I am also obviously very excited about competing for a gold medal!
MH: What advice would you give youth players in Massachusetts and across the country about how to become an Olympian?
CB: I don’t think there is anything in particular to say about becoming an Olympian, but something you have to remember when playing hockey is have fun and never forget why you started playing hockey. It is a privilege to be able to play the game of hockey, so have fun!