Karen’s Print Rite brings you updates on former Waterloo Black Hawks players.
Ten years ago, defenseman Chad Billins helped the Waterloo Black Hawks reach the Clark Cup Championship series. His illustrious career has since included college and professional success, and next month Billins will represent the United States during the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.
USA Hockey revealed the national team roster on Monday during the NHL Winter Classic in New York.
In 2007/08, Billins appeared in all 60 Black Hawks regular season games. He ranked as Waterloo’s fifth-leading scorer with 36 points (ten goals, 26 assists). During the playoffs which followed, Billins notched a team-high five goals in 11 games, including a game-tying score which forced overtime in the decisive fifth game on the road against the Omaha Lancers. Although Omaha ultimately claimed the game and series, Billins’ nine total points made him the third-leading playoff scorer among USHL defensemen.
During the four years which followed, Billins played college hockey at Ferris State. He skated in 149 NCAA games with 17 goals and 50 assists. While serving as a senior captain in 2011/12, he recorded 29 points and helped the Bulldogs to the 2012 National Championship Game against Boston College. To date, it is Ferris State’s only Frozen Four appearance.
One year later in 2012/13, Billins was an American Hockey League All-Star while skating for the Grand Rapids Griffins. Grand Rapids went on to win the league’s Calder Cup. Billins had 37 points in 76 regular season games and 14 more in 24 playoff appearances.
Signing with the Calgary Flames during the offseason, the defenseman made his NHL debut on November 5, 2013 and recorded an assist that night against the Minnesota Wild. All totaled, he appeared in ten NHL games that winter, recording three points.
Billins has spent three of the last four seasons playing abroad, including stints in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) and the Swedish Hockey League. He is currently signed with Sweden’s Linkopings Hockey Club. He also represented the U.S. in November during the Deutschland Cup.
With Monday’s announcement, former Waterloo players have been chosen to participate with the United States team in four consecutive Olympic tournaments. Joe Pavelski represented the U.S. in 2010 and 2014. Jason Blake skated for Team USA in 2006. Prior to Billins, seven Waterloo players (Pavelski, Blake, Charlie Brown, Keith Christiansen, Dan Dilworth, Peter Ferraro, and Paul Johnson) have represented the nation in the Olympics during seven different competitions (1960, 1964, 1972, 1994, 2006, 2010, and 2014).
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