Almost exactly three years after Waterloo clinched the 2017/18 Anderson Cup championship, the Black Hawks’ Most Valuable Player from that season has just signed an entry-level National Hockey League Contract.
Jackson Cates will join the Philadelphia Flyers and depart from the University of Minnesota-Duluth after three seasons. Philadelphia announced Tuesday that Cates has signed a two-year deal which begins immediately.
It was 1,096 days ago tomorrow that the Stillwater, Minnesota, native capped his second and final regular season with Waterloo as the Anderson Cup was carried onto the ice at Young Arena. In addition to being voted MVP by his teammates, weeks later Cates was recognized as the United States Hockey League Forward of the Year. His 33 goals ranked second in the USHL, while his 63 points in 57 games stood fifth. Playing a point position on the Waterloo power play, Cates accumulated 25 of his points on the advantage, tying for second in the league and coming in behind only teammate Jack Drury. In clutch situations, he notched five game-winning scores.
Totaling the figures from his two seasons as a Black Hawk, Cates appeared in 113 scheduled contests with 44 goals and 84 points. He was a +17 player at the junior level, claiming a place on the 2017/18 All-USHL First Team and the Forward of the Year title.
His time at Minnesota-Duluth included winning the 2019 NCAA championship as a freshman. Cates scored one of UMD’s goals in the 3-0 title game victory over Massachusetts. His 14 points that season grew to 23 in the coronavirus-shortened 2019/20 schedule. This season Cates added 27 more as the Bulldogs reached the Frozen Four once again; his 2020/21 offense was eclipsed only by fellow Waterloo alumnus Nick Swaney. Cates finishes his three years of NCAA hockey with 27 goals and 37 assists in 96 games.
Tuesday’s announcement comes two days after Swaney signed with the Minnesota Wild. Both forwards hope to follow Mikey Anderson (Los Angeles Kings) and J.T. Brown (Tampa Bay Lightning/Anaheim Ducks/Minnesota) who each skated in Waterloo, won NCAA championships at Duluth, and then went on to appear in the NHL.
Cates’ first appearance for the Flyers would make him the fourth former Black Hawk to take the ice for Philadelphia. Mark Friedman started this season with the club before being acquired by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Retired defensemen Mark Eaton and Andrew Alberts were both Flyers during their careers. Friedman and Eaton each made their NHL debuts with Philadelphia.
Black Hawks Alumni Updates are presented by Karen’s Print Rite, 2515 Falls Avenue in Waterloo.