Dennis Bonvie: From WBS Penguin to Boston Bruins scout


The Beacon/Sean Schmoyer

Tyler Hynes, Men’s Ice Hockey Head Coach, presents Bonvie with a Wilkes hockey shirt.

Sean Schmoyer, Asst. News Editor

Dennis Bonvie, former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins player and current scout for the Boston Bruins, visited the campus on Oct. 29. He spoke to students about his time playing hockey and how he transitioned from playing in the AHL to become a scout for the NHL when he retired in 2008.

Bonvie was born in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada, where he played 15 years of professional hockey, with most of his career spent being played in the AHL.

In the middle of his career, Bonvie came to Wilkes-Barre to play for the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins, describing his role as a scrapper and a fighter.

Bonvie is known not just for his time with the Penguins and his skills in the rink but also for being one of the most penalized players in professional hockey history.

“The most exciting thing was getting to see someone in person who we have heard so much about. We have only heard good things about Dennis Bonvie, just being able to see him in person is huge as college hockey players getting to see what it takes to become a professional hockey player or scout,” said Phil Erickson, sophomore finance major and forward on the men’s ice hockey team.

Bonvie talked about growing up in a small town with no rinks around it.

“The odds were stacked against me, just like you might think it is stacked against you. Whatever you are going to do, whatever path you are going to follow, it might be stacked against you but it is only stacked against you if you let it be.”

“I battled, I scratched, I got cut from every team,” Bonvie continued, “I tried out again, made the team, hung on, got cut from a team, got an opportunity. That is kind of the story of my career.”

“He has been through it all, he’s played pro hockey till he was 35 years old. He has a lot of insight into what the hockey world is like and what you have to do to move on,” said Devon Schell, sophomore finance major and forward for the men’s ice hockey team.

Hard work and persistence was a crucial part of Bonvie’s talk, but he also stressed the importance of creating opportunity everywhere you go.

“You never know what doors are going to open. If you are a good person and you work your tail off and you network yourself, and you just get to know a lot of people in the game you will be amazed what doors open,” said Bovie.

“Wherever it opens, whether it is in hockey, soccer, basketball or what you are doing in academics, you will be absolutely amazed what will happen for you if you go about it the right way,” he added.

Erickson reflected on what he took away from Bonvie’s talk.

“He said it doesn’t really matter where you come from, you can accomplish anything in your life whether it is hockey, school or your job after that. Whatever it is, if you have the mindset to do whatever it takes to make it happen, you will never take a backseat to anyone,” said Erickson.

Bonvie talked with students through an open Q&A about the differences between being a player and a scout, about the people he played against and why he stayed in hockey after retiring.

He also talked to students about his favorite moments in playing hockey and how he worked his way through the tough times in his career. Bonvie gave students advice regarding how he made his way from a small town in Canada to playing professional hockey and finally to become a scout in the NHL.

“Don’t say what you want to do can’t happen. It only happens when you say ‘I’m done, it is not gonna happen.’ I always told myself that I am going to look in the mirror when it is all said and done and be able to smile and be happy with what I did,” said Bonvie.

“If I make or I don’t make it, I am going to give it my best shot and work as hard as I can to achieve the goal I was striving for. I did not settle for second, I kept striving,” he added.