Three months removed from helping the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to the NCAA’s Frozen Four, former Waterloo Black Hawks goaltender Cal Petersen inked a two-year National Hockey League contract with the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.
Petersen played three years of college hockey for the Irish, but his journey toward the NHL began as a youngster in Waterloo. He took up the sport within the Waterloo Youth Hockey Association. After his freshman year in high school, Petersen spent two seasons with the Chicago Young American’s midget AAA program. In December of 2011, while still playing fulltime for CYA, he debuted as an affiliate for the Black Hawks.
A 34-save 4-2 victory against the Sioux City Musketeers was the first of Petersen’s club record 51 regular season wins for the Hawks. Joining Waterloo for the 2012/13 season, he helped the team match an all-time high for regular season wins (39) after representing the nation during the Hawks’ trip to Omsk, Russia for the 2012 Junior Club World Cup. In 2013/14, Waterloo set a new wins mark at 44; Petersen was in net for 27 of those. The Hawks claimed the Anderson Cup with the United States Hockey League’s best record, while Petersen was recognized with USA Hockey’s Dave Peterson Goaltender of the Year Award.
Over the past three seasons, the 22-year-old has posted a 55-39-15 record for the Irish, including 11 shutouts. He led all college goalies in minutes played during 2016/17 as Notre Dame reached the national semifinals. Besides his individual performance, he served as a team leader, becoming the first Fighting Irish goalie ever named team captain.
Waterloo’s ties with L.A. had just recently been enhanced; one week ago, the Kings selected Hawks defenseman Mikey Anderson during the fourth round of the 2017 NHL Draft. Meanwhile, Petersen seeks to follow Jason Blake’s path to the NHL. After playing for Waterloo during the early 1990s, then advancing to the NCAA, Blake signed a free agent contract with the Kings and debuted in 1999.
Three of Petersen’s Black Hawks teammates made their first NHL appearances over the winter: Zach Sanford (Washington Capitals), Brandon Montour (Anaheim Ducks), and Ian McCoshen (Florida Panthers). In total, eight former Waterloo players skated in the NHL during 2016/17.
No former Black Hawks goaltender has yet taken the crease during a regular season NHL game.