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Ojibwe hockey legend Henry Boucha dies at 72

Henry Boucha with the WHA’s Minnesota Fighting Saints. (U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame)

Henry Boucha (Ojibwe), who is described in his U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame profile as the “most electrifying player in Minnesota hockey history,” died Sept. 18, according to media reports. He was 72.

“He was the most colorful hockey player ever to come out of Northern Minnesota,” fellow hall of fame enshrinee Cal Marvin said in the profile. “When he played, it was so special that he brought people out of the old folks home to come and watch him play. He did it all. He was one of a kind”

Boucha, from Warroad, Minnesota, played for the U.S. Olympic hockey team that won a silver medal in 1972. Shortly after, he embarked on a pro hockey career. He played 247 games in the NHL for the Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota North Stars, Kansas City Scouts and Colorado Rockies.

Boucha’s career was cut short due to an eye injury he suffered in an NHL game in 1975 when Boston’s Dave Forbes hit Boucha with a stick. The highly-publicized incident resulted in an assault charge against Forbes and a criminal trial, which ended with a hung jury. Boucha retired at age 24.

Boucha remained in Minnesota and worked as Indian education director in Warroad schools.
Son Shaugabay (Ojibwe) played hockey in Warroad. He told Minnesota Public Radio that Boucha was a role model for young Native Americans.

“That’s a connection for all Native kids that came after him in our community, self included, that you can play this sport, you can do these things,” Shaugabay said. “Even if you’re Native or you think you can’t, Henry inspired us all.”

Boucha was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 1995.

Kevin Johnson
Kevin Johnson is senior editor. He has worked for The Seminole Tribune since 2014. He was previously an editor, photographer and reporter for newspapers in Southwest Florida and Connecticut. Contact Kevin at