Former NHL hockey player joins KHL Team after Sex-Crime Sentencing

Four months after being fired amid the fallout of a sex assault case, a former NHL hockey player from Michigan has been hired to another Kontinental Hockey League team.

Reid Boucher, 28, of the Okemos area, will play for the Russian team Avangard Omsk on a one-year contract, the team announced Saturday.

Before moving to the KHL team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl and subsequently being fired in February, Boucher last year helped Avangard win the KHL’s version of the Stanley Cup — the Gagarin Cup — while he was under investigation by the Ann Arbor Police Department for a 2011 incident involving a 12-year-old girl when he was 17.

The girl was his billet — or host family — sister during his tenure in the USA Hockey National Team Development Program in Michigan. Now, as an adult, she told the Free Press that Boucher on two occasions pressured her into the use of her mouth for oral sexual assault. She spoke under an agreement of anonymity due to the nature of the case.

The decision to hire Boucher was “not an easy one,” Avangard general manager Alexei Volkov said in a statement.

He said Boucher made a “mistake,” noted he was underage at the time, and separately said Canadian Olympic hockey player Corbin Knight “agreed to sign a contract with Avangard thanks largely to Reid Boucher joining the team.”

“It is very important to draw conclusions from mistakes, and to change for the better,” Volkov said. “Reid pled guilty. It has been a while since that time, and our club decided to give Reid a second chance. Everyone deserves it.”

The club also shared a video of Boucher online amid the announcement. In it, Boucher said he tries to be professional on and off the ice and that the “last couple months have been tough for myself and my family, but we’re trying to move forward.”

Following his closed-door sentencing, his attorney, Pamella Szydlak, raised concern with what she called apparent “revisionist history” by the woman at the center of his case. Szydlak said Boucher was ready to go to trial but made the best decision for his family.

Meanwhile, the woman spoke of years battling self-harm, an eating disorder, and a substance use disorder since Boucher’s assault, and said she was revictimized when coming forward. She had wanted for Boucher to receive some guaranteed jail time in the case but, after, was grateful for “some semblance of closure.”

Boucher was originally charged in 2021 with first-degree criminal sexual conduct. However, in an agreement with a Washtenaw County judge, he pleaded guilty in December to the lesser charge of third-degree criminal sexual conduct involving penetration with someone ages 13-16.

He was sentenced in January under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, or HYTA, to four years of probation with one year of jail time suspended if he successfully completes the probation.

Under HYTA, his record will remain clean upon the successful completion of his sentence; its application in the case sparked concern with the victim, the prosecutor in the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal, and victims’ advocates, though a number of defense attorneys stood by the move.

That hasn’t been the only point of institutional concern raised in the case, either.

Police reports show the USA Hockey program had at least enough information to remove Boucher from the host household back in 2011, but the organization has denied knowledge of any sexual assault.

Boucher went on to play stints with the New Jersey Devils, the Nashville Predators and the Vancouver Canucks as well as the Russian teams.

Igor Burdetskiy

Igor Burdetskiy

Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & CEO at Hooked on Hockey Magazine
I grew up playing Ball and Roller Hockey day and night somewhat religiously throughout elementary and middle school. The two don't compare though when I lace up the skates and hit the ice. I live and breathe hockey beyond the perspective of "it's just a game" and I will gladly talk hockey for hours with anyone. Hockey is more than just a lifestyle, it's a culture of passionate people who make memories every time the puck is dropped. Hockey has not only helped me get through some of the hardest times in life but has created some of the best memories to date. Want to talk hockey with me? Shoot me an email: iburdetskiy@hookedonhockey.com and let's talk some hockey!
Igor Burdetskiy
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