By Joshua Boyd / USPHLPremier.com
It’s never too early to start into your college hockey dreams. The Boston Junior Bruins’ two-year USPHL Premier goaltender Dominik Bovan had the opportunity to go one more year, but a whole different and new opportunity pulled in front to reroute him to Plattsburgh, N.Y.
“I first reached out to Coach [Steve] Moffat from Plattsburgh at the end of October after having a great start to the year. I sent him a couple more e-mails during the season, but it wasn’t until about two months after the season ended when we had the first conversation,” said Bovan, a native of Bratislava, Slovakia. “At that point, I had no idea if I was going to do another year of juniors or if I was going to college. We spoke a couple times during the next two weeks about a variety of topics ranging from my game all the way to the financial side of college. Once everything was agreed upon, it was without hesitation that I accepted the commitment offer [in mid-July]. As far as my game goes, he mainly liked my quick movement in the crease.”
Since the program’s founding in 1975, Plattsburgh has been essentially a NCAA tournament staple. The Cardinals have won the National Championship twice (1992 and 2001) among their 23 all-time NCAA appearances. The program’s all-time winning percentage is .709.
“The No. 1 thing that interested me the most about SUNY-Plattsburgh was the competitiveness combined with the culture of the hockey team. I really like the environment where I have to earn my spot every day while supporting the team,” Bovan said. “As far as the academic side goes, I like the fact that it has the ability to support me in pursuing my goal of becoming an independent entrepreneur one day. Since I want to have my own business one day, it was a pretty easy decision to pick a major. I saw they have entrepreneurship so I chose it without much hesitation.”
So, yes, Bovan is getting into a good program – and the Cardinals are getting a superb goalie. His .937 career save percentage in 44 all-time regular season games is the second best in USPHL Premier history among goalies with at least 40 games (the WBS Knights’ Tade Carman – who has played 45 games – has Bovan beat only by a thousandth of a percentage point, at .938). Bovan’s 2.02 goals against average is fourth all-time among goalies with at least 40 games.
“After being traded to the Junior Bruins [after a brief stint with the Northern Cyclones], Coach Nevin Hamilton immediately gave me a chance and I played a game, not yet knowing more than half the names of my teammates,” said Bovan, of his start in 2021-22. “It was one of the best games I played during my entire junior career. Since then I felt that Coach Hamilton never lost trust in me through my ups and downs during the season and a half I played for him. As far as the Junior Bruins organization in general they try to give players a chance at making the higher level, but they make sure that you play at a level that you can dominate so you get more eyes on you.”
He got in there and produced the wins, putting up a 25-12-0-2 career record. He gave a lot of credit for his success to the Junior Bruins goaltending development program, as well as the USPHL Premier for always giving him a high level of competition.
“The goalie development at the Junior Bruins was mostly run by our coach Nevin Hamilton who was a goalie himself. I felt that he lets you play your style while giving subtle pointers of what to improve,” said Bovan. “Also, I felt that he was available to talk during the times when I was struggling or just wanted to chat. This helped me a lot not only on the on-ice side of the game but also on the mental side.
“The USPHL gives the players the opportunity to showcase themselves as potential college hockey players, but in order to do so, players must always give it their all because as the cliche says ‘you never know who might be watching,’” he added.
SUNY-Plattsburgh was certainly watching and he couldn’t be happier – or more determined to make an impact once in the Cardinal Red and White jersey.
“I decided to make the commitment official because Plattsburgh combines all of my attributes from having a highly competitive hockey team, and a great entrepreneurship program, while having a beautiful mid-size campus in the rural area,” Bovan said. “During this off-season, I’m working on becoming stronger since at the college level, the game is more faster and you have less time to react. Also, on the ice, I try to become more composed in order to gain more control over the game and not just rush all the time.”
The USPHL congratulates Dominik Bovan, his family, the Boston Junior Bruins and SUNY-Plattsburgh for his commitment.