Patrick Williams, TheAHL.com Functions Author
It was a single of all those really wonderful slide times in Northeastern Pennsylvania, and Dennis Bonvie was on the golf class.
The director of pro scouting for the Boston Bruins, Bonvie had a generate forward of him to Philadelphia for a video game that night. He checked his mobile phone and observed that he had a skipped get in touch with. It was from AHL President and CEO Scott Howson.
“Scott Howson?” Bonvie remembers asking himself. “What did I do?”
Bonvie phoned Howson again. There was no trouble, but Bonvie uncovered that he experienced been selected for induction into the AHL Corridor of Fame.
Bonvie took in the information, thanked Howson, and ended the phone.
Then he recognized that it experienced ended a bit abruptly. So he dialed Howson yet again.
“Sorry,” Bonvie instructed Howson. “I got a little choked up there. I appreciate it. It’s an honor. Mainly, I simply cannot believe it’s taking place to me.”
But it is occurring, just like the profession in hockey that he developed for himself, just one that begun when he left his indigenous Nova Scotia for the Ontario Hockey League’s Kitchener Rangers at 18 a long time previous in 1991 as a 19th-round draft decide on.
The 277th decide, Bonvie points out.
“I assume the janitor basically threw my name out due to the fact everyone had still left the constructing,” Bonvie quipped, “but I was really ecstatic that I acquired a probability.”
One particular Saturday night time in opposition to North Bay, he evidently manufactured an impact on head coach Bert Templeton, who picked him up in a trade the up coming working day. From there, he was off to create a track record that he would have on to a 15-12 months professional occupation in the AHL and the Countrywide Hockey League.
“He gave me a likelihood,” Bonvie claimed of Templeton, who handed away in 2003. “That’s all I requested for. I explained to him, ‘I’ll do the job on my abilities. I’ll get the job done on my skating. I’ll operate on my activity, but I can do this if you imagine in me. I can do this.’
“And he did. He gave me an prospect, which is all I requested for.”
Just after two rambunctious seasons rambling all around the OHL, the Calgary Flames noticed some possible and gave Bonvie a tryout. But it did not pan out. So it was back again property to Nova Scotia.
Then came an opportunity with the Cape Breton Oilers, the defending Calder Cup champions. He was offered a tryout from standard manager Dave Andrews, and got in the lineup for a preseason sport.
“I assume it was generally just a token game to begin,” Bonvie stated, “and they gave me a different sport. I did well yet again, and I just sort of hung all-around.”
He did extra than hold about, even though. A defenseman by trade, he moved up to come to be a ahead. In Bonvie’s next pro season, Andrews – now president of the league – named him as a roster replacement for the 1995 AHL All-Star Recreation, and he scored the very first purpose in the revamped event’s record. On Apr. 19, 1995, he built his NHL debut with the Edmonton Oilers, the initially of 94 NHL online games that he would go on to engage in.
Soon after Edmonton moved their prospective clients from Cape Breton to Hamilton, Ont., Bonvie and the Bulldogs went to the 1997 Calder Cup Finals. He invested the 1998-99 time with the Chicago and Philadelphia companies.
But the summertime of 1999 modified Bonvie’s career. The Pittsburgh Penguins were environment up a full AHL affiliate in a model-new arena in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. It experienced been a prolonged approach to bring the AHL to the spot, but it experienced at last transpired, even if the group experienced to engage in its initially month on the street that year.
On Nov. 13, 1999, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins made their residence debut, and admirers swiftly had their 1st lover favourite. Some of people supporters have been new to hockey, but they took to the bodily, energetic participate in that was Bonvie’s design and style. A Penguins ticket promptly became tough to find in a marketplace that had never ever earlier hosted pro hockey, and the arena grew to become acknowledged as “The Dwelling That Bonvie Constructed.”
“The position was packed,” Bonvie remembered. “It was just an aura and form of a buzz all-around the valley that this is one thing, suitable? I advised my spouse (Kelly), ‘This is going to be a truly distinctive put. I can just sense it. I can sense it.’ And it definitely was.”
Although the Penguins struggled in their initial season, the adhering to 12 months brought a trip to the Calder Cup Finals. Bonvie left Pittsbugh for stints in the Boston, Ottawa and Colorado businesses, which incorporated a few AHL seasons with intense Wilkes-Barre/Scranton rivals in Binghamton and Hershey. The admirer favorite experienced turn into a nearby nemesis.
But any tough feelings had been promptly neglected when Bonvie returned to the Penguins in 2005. He retired in 2008 following a single much more vacation to the Finals, owning performed 871 common-period game titles in the AHL.
The Bonvies experienced previously established roots in the Wilkes-Barre place long before retirement, while. Equally Dennis and Kelly are Nova Scotians and felt some pull to return property, but they experienced uncovered familiarity in Pennsylvania. With their son, Rhys, and daughter, Davyn, settling in Northeastern Pennsylvania just manufactured sense.
“The folks are so legitimate, so pleasant,” Bonvie explained. “It’s a residence away from house.”
Some seem at Bonvie’s 4,804 penalty minutes amongst the AHL and NHL – a professional hockey file – and may well dismiss him as a a single-dimensional enforcer. But he experienced a easy mission statement. To him, a appropriate growth setting meant building positive that his teammates could engage in freely.
“I needed to make certain that everybody was effectively-protected,” Bonvie stated. “I took my position significantly to make guaranteed that every person could engage in, engage in to their highest, not engage in terrified, and to make confident that they could be out there undertaking regardless of what they could do to continue to build and turn out to be improved players.”
Right after his enjoying times finished, Bonvie moved into scouting with Toronto and Chicago right before sooner or later moving on to the Bruins. His time with Chicago highlighted a few Stanley Cup championships, and now he is section of a Boston business that is a perennial contender. He will work closely with Providence head coach Ryan Mougenel, who recalled his initial chat with Bonvie.
“What he realized about the id of a participant was off the charts,” Mougenel claimed, “and I believe that only arrives from any person which is been all over and has used a good deal of time listening. That is a single of his most effective traits. I love buying his brain because he’s a man that genuinely will get the dressing space and the player, and I consider what he brings to our business is so precious. I believe he thinks a small outside of the box, and I imagine that is so crucial when you’re evaluating gamers.”
Bonvie’s taking part in activities have served to push him to the major of the pro scouting earth. He knows what it was like to battle for yrs to split the NHL-AHL bubble.
“I performed defense. I played ahead,” Bonvie defined. “I had to understand the match. You sit there and realize what people today are likely by in conditions of all players, your greatest players to your reduced-degree players, so you get a great glimpse of what everyone is likely by.
“You intensify the positives in players, and people negatives, can we strengthen on them? Can they occur to our group and incorporate some benefit at no matter what level they can? You have a good deal more time for gamers as a scout simply because you are observing them as a full. I discover that every person can see the negatives the negatives are easy. But you deliver these positives out. Can he take individuals positives, keep on to include to them and continue to develop his recreation, and be a good to the organization?”
And that was the variety of participant that Bonvie was again in 1991 when he acquired his chance. Raw, but keen to learn and perform. He did, and he designed a lifetime in hockey that has taken him to the AHL Corridor of Fame. He will be formally inducted future Monday in a ceremony throughout the AHL All-Star Traditional in San Jose.
“I attempted to be the finest individual I could be, the very best teammate, and do it the right way,” Bonvie stated. “I worked as tough as I could. I remaining anything on the line.
“I reported when I began that as very long as I can glance in the mirror when I’m accomplished, I’m likely to do it as best as I can, go as significantly as I can.”
TheAHL.com options writer Patrick Williams has been on the American Hockey League conquer for approximately two many years for retailers like NHL.com, Sportsnet, TSN, The Hockey News, SiriusXM NHL Community Radio and SLAM! Sporting activities, and was most just lately the co-host of The Hockey Information On The ‘A’ podcast. He was the recipient of the AHL’s James H. Ellery Memorial Award for his excellent protection of the league in 2016.