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Former Hawks Prep for Playoffs

By WBH, 07/27/20, 3:00PM CDT


Waterloo Alumni in Hub Cities Edmonton and Toronto 

The National Hockey League’s coronavirus-delayed 2020 postseason begins on Saturday in two Canadian hub locations, and former Waterloo Black Hawks players could take the ice for eight of the 24 participating clubs.

Teams have arrived in either Edmonton (Western Conference) or Toronto (Eastern Conference) and will each play one exhibition game on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.  The following Black Hawks were listed on the final playoff rosters for their respective organizations:

Brock Boeser

Vancouver Canucks

Shane Bowers

Colorado Avalanche

Mark Friedman

Philadelphia Flyers

Vinnie Hinostroza

Phoenix Coyotes

Joe Pavelski

Dallas Stars

Patrick Russell

Edmonton Oilers

Zach Sanford

St. Louis Blues

Craig Smith

Nashville Predators


Among the group, Pavelski has the most postseason experience with 134 Stanley Cup Playoff games to his credit, all while a member of the San Jose Sharks.  In those appearances, he recorded 48 goals and 52 assists.  Pavelski’s 101st postseason point will break a tie with Brian Rafalski, and make the former Waterloo captain the most prolific NHL playoff scorer to emerge from the United States Hockey League.

Sanford proved to be an important contributor for the defending champion St. Louis Blues during their Cup-winning effort in 2019.  After appearing in just three games during the postseason prior to the Final series, Sanford recorded a goal and three assists while dressing in five games versus the Boston Bruins.  His goal was scored late during Game Seven, helping to secure the organization’s first title.

Pavelski and Smith have also been part of teams which reached the championship round: Pavelski with the Sharks in 2016 and Smith with the Predators in 2017.  In fact, a former Black Hawk has been part of the Final series in four of the last five playoffs (adding Sanford in 2019 and J.T. Brown – then with the Tampa Bay Lightning – in 2015).  Sanford and Mark Eaton (Pittsburgh Penguins, 2009) are the first two Black Hawks to have been on Stanley Cup-winning teams.

At the other end of the playoff history spectrum, Boeser, Bowers, Friedman, and Russell could each respectively play in their first NHL postseason games during the days ahead.  Among the group, Boeser has the most regular season experience with 197 appearances since making his league debut in 2017.  He has also played in an NHL All-Star Game, while recording a total of 161 points (75 goals, 86 assists).

Meanwhile, Bowers has never appeared in an NHL regular season game.  The 2019/20 campaign was his first full year as a professional.  Skating in 48 matchups for the Avalanche’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Colorado Eagles, the former first round draft pick tallied 10 goals and 17 assists.

The best-of-five qualifier series between Nashville and Arizona pits two three-year Black Hawks against each other.  Smith recorded 117 points in 157 USHL regular season games from 2006/07 to 2008/09.  Hinostroza finished his time in Waterloo with 126 points in 151 contests.  Both helped Waterloo reach at least one Clark Cup Championship Round (Smith in 2007 and 2008, Hinostroza in 2012).

Dates for the games potentially involving former Black Hawks are listed below (times are Central):

August 1st

Oilers vs. Chicago (2 p.m.)

August 2nd

Coyotes vs. Predators (1 p.m.); Flyers vs. Boston (2 p.m.); Avalanche vs. Blues (5:30 p.m.); Canucks vs. Minnesota (9:30 p.m.)

August 3rd

Stars vs. Vegas (5:30 p.m.); Oilers vs. Chicago (9:30 p.m.)

August 4th

Coyotes vs. Predators (1:30 p.m.); Canucks vs. Wild (9:45 p.m.)

August 5th

Coyotes vs. Predators (1:30 p.m.); Avalanche vs. Stars (5:30 p.m.); Oilers vs. Chicago (10:30 p.m.)

August 6th

Flyers vs. Washington (TBD); Canucks vs. Minnesota (TBD); Blues vs. Vegas (TBD)

August 7th

**Coyotes vs. Predators (TBD); **Canucks vs. Minnesota (TBD); **Oilers vs. Chicago (TBD)

August 8th

Flyers vs. Tampa Bay (TBD); Avalanche vs. Vegas (TBD); **Oilers vs. Chicago (TBD)

August 9th

**Coyotes vs. Predators (TBD); **Canucks vs. Minnesota (TBD); Blues vs. Stars (TBD)

** indicates “if necessary”

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