For the second time this month, a National Hockey League trade has brought a former Waterloo Black Hawks forward to the Chicago Blackhawks, who acquired the right to sign Ryder Rolston this afternoon shortly before the NHL trade deadline.
Rolston was part of a three-player swap which also moved Josh Dickinson to Chicago while sending Carl Soderberg to the Colorado Avalanche.
Colorado selected Rolston during the fifth round of the 2020 NHL Draft following his 2019/20 season with Waterloo. Rolston was on the ice for 42 of the Hawks’ 49 games prior to the coronavirus shutdown. He ended the campaign fourth on the team in goals (16) and fifth in points (33). Rolston led the Hawks in shots on goal (158) while producing five power play scores and three game-winning tallies as Waterloo earned the best record in the United States Hockey League Western Conference. He also was a member of the 2019 U.S. Junior Select Team which won the bronze medal at the World Junior A Challenge.
During the 2020/21 hockey season, Rolston appeared in 28 of 29 games as a freshman for Notre Dame. He delivered his first NCAA goal on March 14th versus Penn State, while also producing five assists throughout the season. The Fighting Irish qualified for the NCAA Tournament but could not participate in the event due to a positive COVID-19 test within the program days before the team was scheduled to meet Boston College in the opening round.
Rolston’s inclusion in Monday’s trade harkens back to another deal involving a former Waterloo forward at the college level. In November of 2017, Shane Bowers was traded during his NCAA freshman season just months after being selected by the Ottawa Senators. The Colorado Avalanche were on the receiving end in that exchange, and ultimately signed Bowers to his initial NHL contract after the 2018/19 college season.
Meanwhile, the Chicago Blackhawks are only 10 days removed from a trade which brought them former Black Hawk and Fighting Irish forward Vinnie Hinostroza. Chicago acquired Hinostroza from the Florida Panthers on April 2nd. Hinostroza had originally been drafted by Chicago in 2012, and has played at the NHL level for the Blackhawks, Arizona Coyotes, and Panthers. Hinostroza and Blake Hillman are the only Waterloo alumni to have played regular season games for the Chicago Blackhawks, both making their NHL debuts with the club.
Monday’s trade came amid a recent flurry of Waterloo alumni news. Saturday, the Buffalo Sabres traded former Black Hawks defenseman Brandon Montour to the Panthers. Sunday, forward Nick Swaney was signed by the Minnesota Wild after completing his senior season at Minnesota-Duluth. Also over the weekend, Bobby Trivigno, Garrett Wait, and Aaron Bohlinger celebrated an NCAA championship as the University of Massachusetts defeated St. Cloud State 5-0 Saturday night.
Photo courtesy of Fighting Irish Media. Waterloo Black Hawks alumni features are presented by Karen's Print Rite, 2515 Falls Avenue in Waterloo.