Shane Bowers is among the most prominent National Hockey League draft picks ever to skate for the Waterloo Black Hawks, and on Friday, his NHL debut moved closer to reality as he agreed to a three-year contract with the Colorado Avalanche.
Bowers was a Black Hawk during the 2015/16 and 2016/17 seasons. He spent the last two years with the Boston University Terriers. In June of 2017 – between his final year with the Hawks and his freshman campaign at BU – Bowers was chosen by the Ottawa Senators with the 28th overall pick. Brock Boeser (23rd overall in 2015 by the Vancouver Canucks) and Peter Ferraro (24th overall in 1992 by the New York Rangers) are the only Waterloo alumni to have ever been picked earlier.
“Shane was in the spotlight as an NHL prospect at a very young age,” said Black Hawks Head Coach P.K. O’Handley. “He used his two seasons here to make himself a better player and to convince two teams that he could be a significant part of their organization. He’s continued to develop in college, and the future is very bright today. It always is a great story when a terrific kid gets a chance like this.”
For the remainder of 2018/19, Bowers will skate for the Colorado Eagles, the Avalanche’s American Hockey League affiliate. The Eagles have six games remaining on the regular season schedule.
Bowers’ deal is with Colorado rather than Ottawa, because the Avalanche acquired the right to sign him in November of 2017, amidst a series of swaps involving three teams. Colorado dealt center Matt Duchesne to Ottawa, and the Senators moved forward Kyle Turris to the Nashville Predators. Besides Bowers, Colorado received several prospects and draft picks from both clubs, including Samuel Girard who has appeared in all 77 Avalanche games this season and ranks second in scoring among Avalanche defensemen.
During his two seasons with the Black Hawks, Bowers recorded 37 goals and 47 assists in 116 regular season games. The Halifax, Nova Scotia native’s 2016/17 campaign included a ten-game point streak in January and February, as well as five game-winning goals throughout the year.
Over the last two years with the Terriers, he notched 53 points (28 goals, 25 assists) in 77 games. Bowers was a member of the 2017/18 Hockey East All-Rookie Team.
When he takes the ice for the Avalanche, he will be the first former Hawk to appear for the Colorado organization. A dozen other Waterloo alumni have played in NHL games in 2018/19, including league debuts by Jacob MacDonald, Cal Petersen, and Patrick Russell.