Former Waterloo Black Hawks forward Shane Bowers is now listed on the Colorado Avalanche roster, with his National Hockey League debut possible as early as tonight when the team hosts the Minnesota Wild in Denver.
Bowers is on the cusp of becoming the 12th former Black Hawk to skate in an NHL game during the current 2021 hockey season and the first to make his league debut this winter.
In 2015, Waterloo selected Bowers during Phase I of the United States Hockey League Draft. Joining the Hawks that fall at just 16, the Halifax native had a sensational first season with 15 goals and 18 assists. Those 33 points ranked ninth among USHL rookies and led to Bowers’ selection for the league’s All-Rookie Second Team. As NHL scouts watched in 2016/17, he played in all 60 regular season games with 22 goals and 29 assists. Bowers tied for Waterloo’s assist lead that season with current L.A. Kings defenseman Mikey Anderson and tied for the Hawks’ top point total (51) with Minnesota Wild draft pick Nick Swaney.
As a result, Bowers became just the third Waterloo Black Hawks player to be selected during the first round of the NHL Draft. The Ottawa Senators picked him 28th overall. 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.
While Bowers advanced to Boston University, the right to sign him was transferred from Ottawa to Colorado as part of a three-team 2017 deal. Meanwhile as a member of the Terriers, he accumulated 28 goals and 25 assists during 77 career NCAA games over two seasons. In March of 2019, the Avalanche formally acquired him on a three-year contract and assigned him to their American Hockey League affiliate for 2019/20. Before the schedule was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, Bowers had 10 goals and 17 assists in 48 AHL games for the Colorado Eagles.
When Bowers does debut for the Avalanche, he will become the 31st Waterloo alum to play in an NHL game. Among that group, 21 have played for Hawks President and Head Coach P.K. O’Handley, while General Manager Shane Fukushima has scouted 18 of them.
Bowers will join Jacob MacDonald as the second Hawk to ever skate for the Avalanche after McDonald’s first appearance with the team on Sunday. Colorado also selected recent Waterloo forward Ryder Rolston during fifth round of the 2020 NHL Draft in October.
Waterloo alumni who have played in the NHL this season include MacDonald, Boeser, Anderson, Mark Friedman (Philadelphia), Vinnie Hinostroza (Florida), Brandon Montour (Buffalo), Joe Pavelski (Dallas), Cal Petersen (L.A.), Patrick Russell (Edmonton), Zach Sanford (St. Louis), and Craig Smith (Boston).
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Photo provided courtesy of the Colorado Avalance.