After 15 years the Stanley Cup has found its way back to Cranbrook. This time not by the likes of Rob and Scott Niedermayer, Jon Klemm or Brad Lukowich but by a new player with a long career ahead of him, Bowen Byram.
Byram said he’s proud to be a part of Cranbrook’s hockey history and appreciates everyone in town that helped him complete his goal.
“In a small town there’s a lot of people that help out in minor hockey,” he added.
“I had a lot of good coaches growing up. I’m very fortunate to grow up in Cranbrook in such a rich hockey environment.
“To bring the cup back home it’s a really special experience and I’m very grateful that I got to have it this early on in my career and you never know, maybe I’ll be lucky enough to win it a couple more times before I’m done.”
Winning a Stanley Cup is never a sure thing for any player let alone one wrapping up their first full season and it may not have happened for Byram if the Colorado Avalanche hadn’t traded for the draft pick used to select him.
“I definitely knew I was fortunate to get drafted by the Avs as they already had a really solid team,” he added. “They got the pick from Ottawa.
“I think they actually made the playoffs that year so I knew I was going to have a chance, but you really never know,” he said.
“A lot of good teams never win a Stanley Cup. To have it done now, it’s pretty crazy. Growing up you always want to be a Stanley Cup champion and now that I am it’s pretty hard to describe.”
Even now, lifting the cup for the first time is still something he can’t really describe either. You just can’t know the feeling until you’ve won it yourself.
“It’s a special feeling. It’s hard to describe to people. You’ve just gone through a tough couple of months but to finally get there it’s a relief.”
Byram said there are a lot of moments that stand out to him from the cup run, but it’s such a whirlwind experience that it’s hard to process.
“I can think of a lot., I think Darren Helm’s goal late in Game 6 against St. Louis to send us to the third round.
“It was a fun run. Looking back now you really wish you could have soaked it in a bit more, but there’s so much going on that it just kind of flashes by.”
While a Stanley Cup is as good of an end to the season as you can get for a player, there were some lows Byram had to overcome.
Byram had a rough stretch this year where he was out of the lineup for a large chunk of the season due to ongoing issues from a previous concussion.
He said while it was tough, he’s been able to grow as a player.
“It was a frustrating couple of years not playing as many games as I would have liked to due to injuries and other things, but I think it was honestly a positive for me to go through that early in my career,” he said.
“It’s never easy to come back from injuries, but I was very fortunate to come back and earn a spot in the lineup again. I just tried to contribute any which way I could in the playoffs.”
And contribute he did, putting up nine points and being a staple on the Avalanche’s blue line throughout the playoffs.
A key player on their team and a Stanley Cup under their belt is something most players would dream of growing up and Byram has done it in his first full season.