Cetacean Nation has always held the belief that once a Whale, always a Whale. And we have interviewed and written about players from past seasons, most recently Kate Buesser and Jessica Koizumi from the Pod’s initial season. And we are happy to have the opportunity to offer some thoughts from a more recent former Whale, #3 of our ‘17-‘18 season Amanda Boulier. Boo, as we have come to know her, has signed this offseason to play for the Minnesota Whitecaps in their inaugural campaign in the NWHL. Amanda headed north by northwest if you will, to continue her hockey career. We loved watching Boo play for the Whale, and Cetacean Nation thinks you might feel the same way about what she had to say to us.
Amanda skated as both a defender and forward for the Pod last year, scoring three goals and adding five assists in twelve games. She also fired forty shots on goal, second most on the Whale behind #8 Kelly Babstock. Cetacean Nation asked her if she preferred skating on the attack or playing defense and she quickly replied “Definitely defense !” One of an impressive group of Whale rookies last season, Boo was selected by goalie Brittany Ott of the Boston Pride, for her squad in the NWHL All-Star game in Minnesota. Amanda made a great impression on her future fans there, tallying a goal and an assist for Team Ott in that match. Her All-Star and Whale teammate #34 Sydney Rossman, has joined the Whitecaps for this season as well.
Boo came to the Whale from Saint Lawrence University, but not immediately upon graduation. While on the ice at Saint Lawrence she made an All -ECAC Team every year she competed, and was both Captain and MVP of the Saints in her senior year. As an offensively skilled defender, Amanda totaled 104 points for SLU on 28 goals and 76 assists over her career, and was particularly effective on the power play. Her interesting choices for her degrees at Saint Lawrence, a BA in Philosophy and a MA in Educational Leadership actually influenced her hockey career as well, in terms of coaching. Having begun to think about a career in coaching while still in school, Amanda explained “ I was a philosophy major as an undergradute, and an Educational Leadership masters student. I took classes alongside of other graduate students while I was finishing up my last year of eligibility as a player. It was very interesting to hear their differing coaching perspectives, especially because I knew I wanted to get into coaching at that time.” Amanda continued “I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to coach at Yale right after I graduated from SLU. It was a great experience to be able to coach student athletes at one of the highest levels. (One of the players she coached was our #4 Taylor Marchin) What those women do on a daily basis is incredible. My first year of coaching I didn’t play for the Whale. The second year, I desperately missed playing and wanted to try to make it work as a part time player. It was such a unique experience to be able to coach and play at the same time. I was able to feed off of both experiences and become a better player and coach.” How Amanda came to be a Saint Lawrence Saint in the first place is an interesting story. Here is what Boo told us when we asked how she decided on SLU. “ I had never heard of SLU before assistant coach Ted Wisner started recruiting me. (He’s one of the best recruiters in the game). I was intrigued to see the campus, but never thought I would end up there, especially after our 7 hour drive getting lost in upstate NY. My mom said “you are not coming here” but as soon as I stepped on campus I knew SLU would be home for me. The coaching staff have become some of my favorite people on this planet, and I am so thankful for all of the other incredible people I’ve met along the way that make SLU such a wonderful place.”
So we know where Amanda has been more recently, but how did this all get started? Cetacean Nation asked Boo about her early career in athletics, and this is what she told us. “ I have two older brothers, Jason and Chad, who I have looked up to since day one. They started playing hockey first, and of course, I had to follow suit. I loved going to their games and running around the rink. I used to dress up in their spare gear and pretend I was one of them. A year later, at 3 years old it was finally my turn, and I never looked back. My brothers have been incredible role models for me and I am so thankful for them both.” Boo’s story reminded Cetacean Nation of the little Future Draft picks who played shinny between periods last year at the Whale’s play-0off game against the Rivs. We talked with the parents of the smallest FDP out on the ice, and found out she was two and a half years old! Amanda continued speaking about her youth athletics and added “I loved any and all sports growing up. Along with hockey, I played soccer, baseball/softball, lacrosse, and basketball. I played varsity soccer and softball all throughout high school. Being a multisport athlete certainly helped my hockey career in many different ways, such as conditioning, and overall athleticism.” Cetacean Nation is all in on the philosophy of developing young athletes through competition in multiple sports.
Amanda’s early athletic success helped lead her to her secondary school, Westminster School, a boarding school in Simbury, Connecticut. To be fair, both her athleticism and an adventurous spirit. Boo explained “ I chose Westy because of the small community feel, and for its strong academics and athletics. I live a mile away from Taft School (located in her hometown of Watertown, CT), so it was certainly a tough decision, but the people at Westy were ultimately what lead me to my decision, along with wanting to experience moving away from home and being on my own at 14.” It proved and excellent decision for Amanda, as she experienced both the kind of personal and team success at Westminster that garners notice from college recruiters. Amanda related “I was fortunate enough to play on varsity Soccer Hockey and Softball all four years at Westy, and captained all three. Soccer was the only sport where we didn’t win a New England championship (we lost in the finals my senior year). We won it in hockey in 2010 and 2011, and in softball in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.” Amanda also gave us a great Fun Fact concerning her career on the diamond. She revealed “ I played third base, and my Whale assistant Coach Sara Ugalde was our phenom shortstop.” How cool is that! By the way, Boo bats and throws right-handed, the same as she shoots a hockey puck. Amanda’s early hockey career also included being a part of the legendary Connecticut Polar Bears, and a roster spot on the 2011 U18 US National Team. Amanda commented “The experience with the U18 team was certainly an unforgettable one. To be able to play alongside so many talented players was an invaluable experience for me. Winning a gold medal and beating Canada was also fun. And the CT Polar Bears were one of the most fun group of girls I’ve ever been a part of.”
Amanda has an extremely engaging way of expressing herself, both on the ice and on the phone. .For example, when telling us about how she came to wear uniform #3, Boo explained it this way: “ As mentioned, my brothers have played a huge role in my success as an athlete and person. My brother Chad wore 28 and Jason wore 8, so as I have always done, I followed in their footsteps and chose number 8. I wore that number all through high school and college. When I signed with the Whale, #8 was taken by Kelly Babstock, so I had to get innovative. 3 to me looks like an 8 chopped in half, so there you have it folks.” The PS to that story is when our former #3 hits the ice for the Whitecaps, she will once again be sporting number 8 on her sweater. In closing, Amanda added “ Thank you so much to the fans, to my teammates at the Whale, and to the Coaches, Ryan and Sara for a great season”. We also thank our former #3 Amanda “Boo” Boulier for taking the time to share these thoughts, and wish her well in her north by northwest journey as she takes her career as #8 to the State of Hockey. And to the fans of Cetacean Nation, consider this: just as there is the legend of the Once and Future King, perhaps there is a legend, yet to be written, of a Once and Future Whale. Fins Up to you Boo!