It was December 12th, 2018 and Chris Boushy had just been cut by his second NLL team without making it out of training camp. First, it was the Saskatchewan Rush who let Boushy go during training camp in 2017 and now it was the Buffalo Bandits who told Boushy thanks but no thanks after the 20-year-old couldn’t commit to practices because he was still in his fourth year at Queen’s University.
“With the Rush, they were coming off of winning the NLL Cup,” said Boushy. “They didn’t need a lot of depth. I believe they only brought two extra guys to training camp.”
Not even two hours after Boushy was cut by the Bandits, his phone rang. It was the Calgary Roughnecks head coach Curt Malawsky and general manager Mike Board.
“I was still on the train back to school and they called me and said we have an open spot and asked if I was interested,” said Boushy. “I signed a contract with them for an active roster spot that same night.”
Boushy had yet to meet any of his teammates, Malawsky, or Board as a Roughneck.
In three days he’d be suiting up for his NLL debut in front of 10,000 fans at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
On Friday, December 14th, Boushy flew out to Calgary, practiced with the team that night and suited up for the home opener the next night. He scored one goal and notched one assist in the Roughnecks 15-14 loss to the Vancouver Warriors.
“There were definitely nerves (playing in that first game),” said Boushy. “Any rookie will tell you they are a little bit nervous going into that first game. But as soon as I got out there the adrenaline just took over.”
Boushy’s time with Calgary didn’t go exactly as the forward had hoped it would. In eight games with the Roughnecks, he scored eight goals and dished out six assists for a total of 14 points, a far cry from his offensive output in four games with the Knighthawks (10 goals, seven assists) in half as many games (four).
But Boushy’s role with the Roughnecks wasn’t to score goals. He was the fifth or sixth scoring option behind Rhys Duch, Dane Dobbie, Tyler Pace, Curtis Dickson and Dan Taylor.
Boushy didn’t raise eyebrows in Calgary with his scoring. But he learned everything he could playing with those veterans.
“That being my first team I played with, it couldn’t have been better for me,” said Boushy. “I learned endless amounts about how to carry yourself as a pro. And you pick up so many little things on the floor here and there that you just can’t teach somebody. You have to play with them and pick up their habits.”
On March 7th, 2019, Boushy was traded to the Rochester Knighthawks for a fourth-round pick in the 2020 NLL Draft. Boushy would be leaving a team right in the middle of a playoff run for a team, who, at the time, was in second to last place in the East Division at 2-8 and had just traded away star players Joe Resetarits, Paul Dawson and Cory Vitarelli and saw their star second-year forward Austin Shanks land on the IR.
With any new situation comes opportunity. In his first weekend with the Knighthawks Boushy scored seven goals and had two assists in the loss vs. Georgia on Friday night and added two more goals on Saturday in a loss to Toronto.
“(Rochester owner and general manager) Curt Styres called me shortly after I got traded and said you’re going to be thrown right in there,” said Boushy. “Be ready to go.”
“That Friday night game was one of those games where everything was dropping. After the third goal you start to get the nod from coach to keep plugging away and look for shots.”
His focus the rest of this season will be on improving his offensive play so that when Shanks returns from injury next season, Boushy, along with Cody Jamieson, Kyle Jackson and recently acquired Ryan Benesch can create an offensive juggernaut that can compete with Buffalo, Toronto, Georgia and New England in the East.
“I knew the trade would give me a bigger opportunity,” said Boushy. “I could showcase myself and make a name for myself which is what I did my first weekend. I wasn’t underutilized in Calgary. I think I’m just playing a different role now.”