Cranbrook product Bowen Byram is officially an NHL player.
The 19-year-old defenceman suited up for his first professional game with the Colorado Avalanche in a 4-2 loss against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night.
Byram played 11:19 minutes, posted a shot on goal and received a two-minute minor in his NHL debut.
“Definitely some nerves and jitters at the start there,” said Byram, in a post-game press conference posted on the Colorado Avalanche website. “I thought I calmed down later into the first and into the second and third, I felt pretty good out there.
I think I did some things well, I think there are some things I can improve on, but overall, I think it’s a good starting point for me.”
Asked if he had a welcome-to-the-NHL moment, Byram said there were some little things along the way, but nothing that stopped him in his tracks.
“Once I got my nerves out of the way, I felt pretty good out there, confident, so I don’t think there was a total moment like that, no”
Byram is no stranger to high-pressure hockey moments.
On the international stage, Byram has just came off a silver-medal performance with Team Canada at the World Junior Championship in Edmonton, and was a key piece of the defensive corps and leadership group.
Byram also suited up for Team Canada in last year’s tournament, capturing a gold medal.
He was drafted by the Vancouver Giants third overall in 2016, and quickly established himself as a key part of the club’s defensive corps and a bonafide WHL star.
Byram parlayed a solid rookie season into an eye-popping sophomore campaign in 2018, earning 71 points and setting a franchise record for goals by a defenceman, with 26, and setting a league record with six overtime game-winning goals.
Byram also led the Giants, and the WHL, in the post-season scoring race, tallying 26 points, as Vancouver fell just short in the league championship series against the Prince Albert Raiders.
He was selected fourth overall by the Avalanche at the 2019 NHL Draft.
Born in Cranbrook, Byram played development hockey in Lethbridge before being drafted into the WHL.
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