PITTSBURGH — When Philippe Bozon was looking for a place for his son Tim to further his hockey career, it might seem that the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League would be a perfect fit for a French-speaking player.
But Tim Bozon wound up playing for Kamloops, B.C. in the Western Hockey League because Bozon pere wanted a tougher challenge for his son.
“I thought it would be better for his English but I also thought the hockey would be better,” said Philippe, who was the first French-trained player to win a job in the NHL when he joined the St. Louis Blues in the early 1990s.
“I thought it would be good for Tim because the defencemen are bigger and it’s a more physical game.”
“Tim did very well this year,” said Canadiens scout Trevor Timmins, who drafted the French youngster 64th overall in the NHL draft Saturday.
“He came over as a rookie in the WHL and scored 36 goals with the Kamloops Blazers. We like the way he competes and the way he adjusted to the Western Hockey League. That’s a tough league to play in for a player coming from Europe.”
Tim was born in St. Louis while his father was playing as a shutdown forward and occasional linemate for Brett Hull. He’s played most of his hockey in Switzerland where his father, a four-time French Olympian and a member of the IIHF Hall of Fame, is a coach.
Tim Bozon said it’s no surprise that his father sought out a challenging situation for him.
“He has been my coach (with the French national junior team) and he always pushes me harder than the other players,” said Bozon.
Timmins said the younger Bozon has embraced the challenge to work harder.
“We know his strength and conditioning coach in Switzerland and his work ethic and commitment to his off-ice preparation is going extremely well this summer,” said Timmins. “That’s key for him. He has to add size and strength but he has natural scoring ability.”
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