Recently captaining Team Canada at the World Juniors, Cranbrook’s Bowen Byram will now play his first game in the NHL on Thursday, in what has been a whirlwind few weeks for the 19-year-old.

Selected 4th overall by the Colorado Avalanche in the 2019 NHL Draft, Bryam joined the team on their taxi squad earlier this week. After sitting out yesterday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings, Byram has since been added to the active roster and will make his NHL debut at 8:00 pm MT against the Kings.

Following Canada’s 2-0 loss to the United States at the World Juniors in the gold medal game, Byram successfully went through the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols to join the Avalanche.

Cranbrook’s Bowen Byram at the 2021 World Junior Hockey Championship representing Team Canada. (Supplied by Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada Images)

Jared Bednar, Head Coach of the Avalanche made the announcement during the team’s pre-game press conference.

“We have seven D so he’ll probably play a little bit with everybody and we’ll just get him going and play him. We’ll try to put him in some situations to succeed, obviously want to see him on the ice a little bit in the offensive zone and playing with the MacKinnon line.”

“I want him to be the best version of himself that he can be. My conversation with him is simple. Go play your game, go do all the things that have made you successful to this point, keeping in mind that you have to be able to defend properly and be a trustworthy guy on the defensive side of it. He’s clear on his structure, he’s an intelligent player.”

Bednar said the Avalanche powerplay is set in stone and he won’t jump in on that tonight but the lineup options will be difficult down the road as they figure where to slot certain guys.

Speaking to the media before the game, Byram said he wasn’t necessarily expecting to play on Thursday, until he saw the lineup.

Cranbrook’s Bowen Byram at the 2021 World Junior Hockey Championship representing Team Canada. (Supplied by Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada Images)

“I walked into the dressing room and the lineup was on the wall there, so a little surprised, but I was hoping it was coming soon so I’m really excited for tonight,” said the 19-year-old.

“When I realized I was going – just really excited, I mean it’s been a long time coming, I’ve been dreaming of this for a long time.”

Not having much time after the pre-game skate, Byram said he’s only been able to send out a single text about his debut.

“I did text my dad just to tell him that I was playing tonight, that was the first and only text so far,” said Byram in the press-conference. “He means a lot to me, he’s been in this position before. I know he’ll be really excited for me so just wanted to get the word to him.”

Byram’s dad, Shawn Byram played five games in the NHL, but had a lengthy career that spanned the WHL with the Regina Pats and Prince Albert Raiders, the IHL with the Indianapolis Ice, and overseas in Europe.

“He’s been great to me throughout my life and especially my hockey career. He’s not really too hard on me, he’s just kind of another voice other than an agent or coach, whoever it may be. I know I talk to him a lot about the game, a lot about my game, he’s been there to help me throughout since I can remember,” said Byram, of his dad.

“It’s definitely pretty cool having two guys who have NHL games in the family, I mean hopefully I can surpass my dad in games played,” laughed the Cranbrook native.

The young star, previously playing for WHL’s Vancouver Giants will hit the ice at the Staples Centre against the Los Angeles Kings at 8:00 pm MT.

Bowen Byram taking questions from media over Zoom prior to his NHL debut with the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday, January 21, 2021 against the Los Angeles Kings. (Supplied by Colorado Avalanche, NHL)