Zach Boychuk of Airdrie is once again making his mark in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL), known as being one of the best hockey leagues in Europe.
The ex-NHLer, who was drafted in the first round of the 2008 NHL entry draft with the 14th pick by the Carolina Hurricanes and played parts of seven seasons with the Hurricanes, Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators, has been on a scoring rampage for his club, Eisbären Berlin (Polar Bears Berlin) with October being his best month to date. In 11 games played during the month, the Polar Bears compiled a record of nine wins, one loss and a shootout loss. In those games, Boychuk recorded eight goals and 10 assists for 18 points.
Boychuk, who is in his fourth season with the Bears, is tied for third place in the DEL in goal scoring with ten goals in 18 games and has added ten assists for a total of 20 points, good for fifth place in league scoring. The 34-year-old is likely on his way to his best season so far in the DEL. He's on pace to finish the year with 29 goals and 29 assists for 58 points. His previous best showing was last season when he scored 17 goals and added 29 assists for 46 points.
One of Boychuk's many strengths as a hockey player has always been the velocity of his shot. The DEL tracks who has the fastest shot in the league with Boychuk ranked fifth with a shot clocked at 161.2 kmh.
Boychuk's play has helped the Polar Bears to first place in DEL standings. In 18 games this season, Berlin has 11 wins, one overtime win, one shootout win, three losses, and one shootout loss. That gives them 39 points to date and a three-point lead over Penguins Bremerhaven and Straubing Tigers, who are tied for second place.
Since leaving the NHL, Boychuk spent three seasons with Sibir Novosibirsk in the Russian-based KHL before taking his game to Europe where he's met with success, having won titles in Switzerland with SC Bern before winning two championships with Berlin in 2020-21 and 2021-22. He has also represented Canada at three Spengler Cups, winning in 2017 and 2019.
In his younger years, Boychuk played one season with the U15 Airdrie Xtreme where he notched 86 points in 37 games. He then spent one season with the U18 UFA Bisons and then moved on to the Western Hockey League's Lethbridge Hurricanes, enjoying a very successful junior career. He was a part of the Canadian team at the World Junior Championships in 2008 and 2009 and helped the country win it's fourth and fifth straight gold medals.
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