In the short-term, Ryder Rolston’s hockey future is tied to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, but on Wednesday his long-term outlook with the Colorado Avalanche began to come into focus.
The Fighting Irish freshman and recent Waterloo Black Hawk forward was chosen by Colorado in the Fifth Round with the 139th overall pick of the 2020 NHL Draft.
The only previous Waterloo player to be selected by the Avalanche was Doug Schmidt in 1997. However, Colorado acquired former Waterloo forward Shane Bowers in a trade from the Ottawa Senators, then signed the 2017 First Round pick to an NHL entry-level contract in 2019.
Rolston joined the Black Hawks last fall after spending two seasons in the United States Hockey League with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program. In Waterloo, he notched 33 points (16 goals, 17 assists) in 42 games. On October 19th last season, he recorded a hat trick during the Hawks’ memorable 9-1 home win against the Des Moines Buccaneers. Rolston also scored a pair of overtime goals in 2019/20, pushing Waterloo to wins versus the Omaha Lancers (November 16th) and Fargo Force (February 7th). Although he was out of the Hawks’ lineup for seven games, Rolston’s 158 shots on goal still ranked third in the USHL.
Four of Rolston’s Waterloo absences were due to participating with the U.S. Junior Select Team during the 2019 World Junior A Challenge in Dawson Creek, British Columbia. He helped the U.S. squad earn a bronze medal during that event. It was the latest round of international competition for Rolston, who represented the nation on several occasions during his time with the NTDP.
Rolston’s father, Brian, also had notable international experience, highlighted by appearances in three different Olympiads. Those opportunities intermingled with a 17-year NHL career which included a stint with the Avalance in 1999/2000.