By Dan Ninham
Gaabi Boucha is a sophomore at Warroad High School in Warroad, MN. He is a three-sport athlete in football, hockey, and baseball.
“My Anishinabe name is Gaabimasiget and translates to The Sun Rises Each Day,” said Boucha. “I’m Atik (Elk) Clan and an enrolled member of the Northwest Angle Band #37 in Ontario.”
Boucha was the running back this past football season. “I wait all year for football season,” said Boucha. “In the off-season I work on skills that will carry over and I can improve on.”
“One exciting football memory was attending the NDSU Football Camp with hundreds of players and being awarded an Elite Camper Award,” he said.
Boucha also plays hockey for the Warroad HS Warriors. He is a 6-2 and 215 lb. center and enjoys playing a physical game. He is a two-time Minnesota Bantam State Champion.
He missed the first few weeks of this season for the filming of The Way of the Warriors, a fictional hockey film that is being filmed in Eveleth, MN. “I have a character role as one of the 20 players on the team,” said Boucha. “I’m super excited for the movie experience.”
“Gaabi was cast as a member of the Warriors team,” said movie producer John Montague. “His character, Brendan, is a high school senior. It is a major role in the film. His grandfather, Henry Boucha, will be featured as a Warriors legend in a cameo role.”
“The production was suspended due to the COVID surge and restrictions. Filming will resume later this year,” added Montague.
Grandfather Henry Boucha, 69, is Ojibwe, a former professional hockey player and Team USA player in international competition including being a silver medalist in the 1972 Winter Olympics. He was inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame.
“I once watched Gaabi play seventh grade football,” said Montague. “Gaabi was their place kicker, they scored a touchdown, Gaabi hurt his dominant side right leg during the play but was supposed to kick the extra point.”
Boucha ended up kicking the extra point with his left foot and scoring the extra point.
“Growing up, Gaabi would go from one activity to another all day long,” said mom Tara Boucha. “He was always trying to top what he had done the day or week before. When he was younger he spent hours on the trampoline figuring out how to do any kind of flip he could … front flips, back flips, and double back flips. He always wanted to take his skills to the next level and has been self-driven.”
“He showed leadership on the field and ice and a passion to compete,” said Jaimie Snowdon. “He had a very high football I.Q, and sees the field very well, and the game in angles.”
Warroad HS teacher Jennifer Dahlen said, “I immediately associate with Gaabi his ability to focus on one thing even though the room may be full of noise and distractions. The first class I had Gaabi in, he seemed very outgoing and full of questions. Some may have seen that as a problem, but I soon realized that he was trying to see how many angles he could approach a problem from.”
“All through high school I worked as a lifeguard at the local indoor and outdoor pool,” said sister Sky Boucha. “When Gaabi wanted to start working he went through lifeguard training. The lifeguard test takes a full day to complete from a swim and dive test to the written exam. We went to the pool one day before the exam and he did the swim test and made it with four minutes to spare.”
“My favorite story of Gaabi’s is his passion for lacrosse starting at age nine or 10,” said big sister Shalese Snowdon. “He watched the movie ‘Crooked Arrows’ that is about a Native lacrosse team and instantly was hooked.
Despite not having a local team, Gaabi spent countless hours in the backyard perfecting his game. It was extremely noticeable how much stronger his hockey shot got during his lacrosse years from whipping the ball at the lacrosse net all day.”
“The biggest highlight for me as a varsity student athlete is putting the Warroad jersey on and being able to represent my community,” said Boucha.
Boucha said: “I have several different interests and long term goals, but for now … I’m hoping it is on some coaches’ college football or hockey roster.”