For Eve Boissonneault, the wait is finally over. The 17-year-old multi-sport star, preparing to complete her final year at Collège Notre-Dame as well as with the Sudbury Midget AA Lady Wolves program, has accepted a full scholarship to attend the University of Maine in September of 2013.
The decision culminates an incredible journey within the local girls hockey program for Boissonneault, one in which she has been tagged as an elite player to watch almost from the beginning.
Boissonneault, it seems, was smitten by the sport at a very early age. "I remember my older brother (Alex) playing hockey and I was always jealous of him," she said, recently at home. "I would dress up in his equipment and walk around the house.
"I was bugging my parents to let me play, but for some reason, they thought I was too small and would get hurt, so they put me in figure skating for a year. That didn't go too well," she added, with a smile.
Born in Timmins but moving to Sudbury at the age of three, the youngest of the two children of Lyne Guillemette and Marc Boissonneault has often been identified by a few trademark characteristics — namely, her outstanding puck-handling abilities and her natural competitiveness and intensity.
Boissonneault is as self-demanding as they come.
"There's always ups and downs," she said. "I would say I sucked when I was mad, when I didn't have my better games. I would have my little fits. My dad didn't like that. I'm a little more mature now."
An outstanding student in the classroom, Boissonneault is armed with a self-confidence that comes with a solid knowledge of the skill-set she possesses. She is also driven to excel, a virtual given when it comes to the vast majority of elite level competitors.
"Every since I was little, I would say that I was going to be in the Olympics when I'm 18," she said. "Obviously, that's not the most realistic."
Still, the smooth-skating forward has been turning heads in the rinks for quite a while, rounding out her athletic prowess with city championships in track and field as well along the way.
While a large number of schools entered the mix in the decision-making process for Boissonneault, Dartmouth and Maine were consistently among the front-runners. With a decision now made, she said she is able to breathe a little easier.
"It's tough at some points because you're torn, you don't know what to do," Boissonneault said. "You keep getting emails. You think you've made a decision and a new school pops in. It's kind of an ongoing thing. Once you make your decision, it's a relief."
Although the formal signing period will not come until November, the northern Ontario teenager has already informed the remaining schools that were courting her of her decision.
Along with an instant connection with coach Maria Lewis, Boissonneault said that, to some extent, it does come down to a gut feeling. "It's kind of hard to describe and you can't really put it into words, but you just know that's the right place for you."
With her final year of midget hockey still ahead, it might be easy for the soon-to-be member of the Maine Black Bears to slide in to "cruise control," dropping the intensity she brings to the rink. Yet ask anyone who knows Boissonneault and they will tell you this would be incredibly uncharacteristic.
Besides, the Sudburian who will enroll in the kinesiology program in Orono (Maine) still has plenty to check off her hockey to do list.
"My goal for the summer is to make Team Ontario," Boissonneault said. She has safely survived the first round of cuts, advancing with roughly 80 other players to form two teams which will compete at nationals in November.
"And when you get to Maine, you want to impress your coaches. When you get to university, you want to be the best you can be, remind them of why they picked you and why they wanted you so bad."
It is a single-minded focus that has paid off, in spades, for Boissonneault.
Posted by Laurel Myers