Karen’s Print Rite presents an update on a remarkable year for Hawks alumni in the NHL.
In 2015/16, four former Waterloo Black Hawks skated in National Hockey League games in front of huge crowds and worldwide television audiences.
This winter, that number doubled, as four additional players just a few years removed from their seasons at Young Arena got the call to the NHL. With more signings of former Waterloo stars like Mark Friedman and Justin Kloos in recent weeks, the pipeline to hockey’s highest level is certain to remain full in the future.
Here is a timeline of big games involving Hawks alumni which you might have seen on television over the last six months:
October 13th – The Washington Capitals opened their season against the reigning Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins. Zach Sanford was on the ice for the Caps, making his NHL debut. Sanford joined Washington just two years removed from his season with the Black Hawks. He skated for Boston College in the interim.
October 15th – Early in his fourth full NHL season, J.T. Brown played in his 200th game as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning. He became just the sixth former Black Hawk to reach that milestone.
October 17th – Now a sturdy veteran and captain of the San Jose Sharks, Joe Pavelski had a big night with a hand in all four San Jose goals against the New York Rangers. Although the Sharks came up short in the 7-4 contest, the game was part of Pavelski’s strong start, which included 11 points in his first nine games.
November 14th – Late in the first period, Brown broke a scoreless draw against the New York Islanders. The Lightning stacked up more scoring in the 4-0 win, but Brown’s goal stood up as the winner. Appearing in 64 games throughout the winter, Brown would finish with three goals and three assists.
November 19th – After just a taste of NHL hockey in 2015/16, Vinnie Hinostroza found himself in the Chicago Blackhawks lineup with regularity during the early months of the season. Through the first nine games, he was held without a point. He broke out against the Vancouver Canucks with a goal, an assist, and then a second assist on the overtime winner by Marian Hossa.
December 17th – Hinostroza scored a game-winning goal of his own against the St. Louis Blues, breaking a 4-4 tie in Chicago’s 6-4 victory. He would add an additional game-winner in January against the Colorado Avalanche, eventually finishing the season with six goals and eight assists in 49 appearances.
December 29th – Brandon Montour was called up for his first NHL game by the Anaheim Ducks. The former second round draft pick was on the ice for 17:54 during the road game against the Calgary Flames.
January 7th – In the third period against the Detroit Red Wings, Pavelski scored his 14th and 15th goals of the season. His performance in the 6-3 win featured the 600th point of his NHL career. Including this season, Pavelski has recorded 50 or more points eight times.
January 12th – Craig Smith became the fifth Black Hawk to play in 400 regular season NHL games. The Predator veteran has been a regular in Nashville since 2011/12.
January 26th – In one of three multigoal games during the season, Smith kept the Predators ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets. He scored twice during the third period of the 4-3 decision, including the game-winner. Smith eventually finished the year with a dozen goals and 17 assists in 78 games played.
February 11th – Although Sanford opened the season with the Capitals, he shuttled back and forth from there to the Hershey Bears throughout the middle stages of the season. Recently returned to Washington for a game against the Ducks, Sanford scored his first NHL goal late in the third period. The score broke a 4-4 tie and proved to be the winner during the 6-4 result.
February 27th – Just a couple of weeks after his decisive goal against the Ducks, Sanford was involved in one of the biggest deals ahead of the NHL trade deadline. The swap sent him to St. Louis along with Brad Malone and some draft picks in exchange for star defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk.
March 25th – Disappointment after the University of North Dakota’s early ouster from the NCAA Tournament turned to excitement the next day. In the course of several hours, Brock Boeser signed an NHL contract with the Vancouver Canucks, made his first appearance against the Minnesota Wild in St. Paul in front of countless family and friends, and scored the winning goal during a 4-2 ddecision. He would finish the season by making nine NHL appearances with four goals and an assist.
March 25th – Pavelski played in his 800th NHL regular season game. He missed only one Sharks game this season; it is the only time he has been out of the lineup over the last six seasons. Among Black Hawks alumni, only Jason Blake skated in more league contests (871).
April 6th – Ian McCoshen spent most of his first professional season in the American Hockey League with the Springfield Falcons. Named the club’s “Man of the Year” for his community service efforts, the defenseman was rewarded with a call-up to the Florida Panthers in the closing days of the season. Although the high-scoring 6-3 game went to the Blues, McCoshen and Jaromir Jagr assisted on Florida’s first goal, netted by Vincent Trocheck.
April 9th – In the regular season finale, Montour logged a season-high 20:51 of ice time. He assisted on the game-tying goal the Ducks tallied in the mid-third period, opening the door for a 4-3 overtime victory. At season’s end, he had two goals and four assists in 27 appearances and a strong +11 plus/minus differential.
With five of the eight former Hawks skating for Stanley Cup playoff qualifiers, look for farther updates on their exploits as the postseason continues.
Where Are They Now is presented by Karen’s Print Rite.