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Longtime BJW Coach, Colin Blackwell, Signs NHL Contract with the Nashville Predators!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018, 4:20PM

Nashville, TN -- The Boston Junior Whalers Spring/Summer Elite Hockey Club is thrilled and proud to share that former BJW standout and longtime BJW youth coach, Colin Blackwell, has signed his first NHL contract!  Colin signed with the Nashville Predators this morning, and is now under contract with the Predators for the next two seasons.

Colin, a native of North Andover, MA, was an original member of our BJW U18 Team back in 2010, and has been involved with the program since as a coach.  Colin grew up playing his youth hockey for the Valley Jr. Warriors before matriculating on to St. John's Prep.  While at SJP, he captained the Eagles for his final two years, was drafted in the 7th Round of the 2011 NHL Draft by the San Jose Sharks, and advanced to play at Harvard University the following year as a true freshman.

For those who aren't familiar with Colin's story and battle with injuries, it is greatly inspiring and a great example of how hard-work and perseverance will pay off in the long run.  After a great Freshman season at Harvard, he was sidelined during his Sophomore year with a severe concussion, ending his sophomore season.  Due to Post-Concussion problems, he had to the entire following year as well.  He finally was medically cleared to rejoin his team with just 12 games left in what would be his senior season, and he jumped at the chance after missing two calendar years of hockey.  Colin returned for a 5th season to play a final full-season at Harvard before entering the professional world.

Upon graduating and the conclusion of his college career, Blackwell reported for Rookie Training Camp with the San Jose Sharks, in hopes of earning a spot on the Sharks' AHL Affiliate Team, the San Jose Barracuda.  Since he was drafted five years before reporting to camp in the summer of 2016, the Sharks actually no longer held the exclusive rights to him, and therefore made his chances of making the team even more difficult.  Colin made the team and played in 72 AHL Games with the Barracuda in 2016-17.

Upon the conclusion of the 2017 AHL Playoffs, San Jose informed Blackwell that they would not be offering him a new contract, despite a stellar rookie season.  He was unsure of where he would pursue the continuance of his career, perhaps over seas in Europe, but remained to train on his own and grow into a better player each day.  He got his first bit of good luck, as the Buffalo Sabres called to invite Colin to their Rookie Camp just one day prior to the camp, as a spot was made available due to a last-minute injury.  Colin was given the one chance he needed to get his foot back in the door in front of an NHL Club, and prove that he is capable of earning a spot.  He signed an AHL Contract with Buffalo's farm team, the Rochester Americans, after playing so well and having such an impact on the club's preseason squad, that they had no choice but to sign him.

Colin had a career season in the AHL this past year with Rochester, tallying 17 goals, 28 assists, and 45 points in just 61 games, which was good enough to leads all Rochester forwards in scoring, despite missing 10 games with an injury during his mid-season point streak.

It is virtually impossible to get a shot in an NHL lineup if you are on a strictly AHL contract, so he knew resigning with Rochester would make it hard to get a shot at cracking an NHL lineup.  It was expected that the Buffalo Sabres would have offered his an NHL 2-way contract, as many believe that it was more than earned after his impact last season.  It appears the Nashville Predators caught notice of his hard-work, and signed Blackwell to a 2-year contract this morning, will he will be given the chance to crack the NHL club's lineup immediately out of training camp this summer.

Congratulations to Coach Colin;  we are proud of all of your hard work, and will be rooting on Nashville next season!