Former Coquitlam Express goalie Clay Stevenson is a Washington Capital.
The 23-year-old sophomore at Dartmouth College signed a two-year entry level contract with the NHL team on Monday. He’ll join the Capitals next season.
Stevenson was a free agent as he’d never been drafted by an NHL team. Last Thursday, local broadcaster Rick Dhaliwal confirmed Washington’s interest, as well as overtures from the New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks and Seattle Kraken
Stevenson just finished his second year with the NCAA’S Dartmouth College Big Green, where he won six games, lost 14 and tied two. His first year was wiped out by COVID-19 public health restrictions.
Stevenson posted a 2.70 goals against average and a .922 save percentage with Dartmouth. He was also named to the East Coast Athletic Conference all-rookie team as well as the league’s third all-star team.
Big Green coach Reid Cashman said the goaltender earned his shot at the NHL.
"It has been a pleasure watching Clay develop under the guidance of (goaltending coach) Jason Trapp the last couple of years," Cashman said in a statement on the Dartmouth College website. "This is a great day for both Clay and Dartmouth Hockey."
Stevenson played three seasons with the Express prior to heading south. He won 30 of the 35 games he played in the 2019-20 season, leading the team to the top of the BC Hockey League’s regular season standings.
But he was unable to help the Express in the subsequent playoffs because of an obscure NCAA rule that aged him out of junior hockey when he turned 21 on March 3, 2020, so he could retain his full academic eligibility at college.
Stevenson stayed with the Express, though, to mentor the team as it swept the Langley Rivermen in the first round of the playoffs. But then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the rest of the post-season abruptly ended.
Stevenson’s success in his final year with the Express came despite a personal tragedy when his mom died by suicide while he was in training camp. He said his drive to be his best came from seeing all the sacrifices she’d made bringing him up as a single mom, including following him to 100 Mile House where he played Junior ‘B’ for the Wranglers.
“Everything she did, she wanted to do the best of her capabilities,” he said. “That rubbed off on me.”
EXPRESS GM STAYING WITH FEMALE HOCKEY PROGRAM
Coquitlam Express general manager Tali Campbell will reprise his role as the GM of the Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey Association’s (PCAHA) female district development program for another season.
The PCAHA is the governing body for minor hockey in the Lower Mainland District of BC Hockey that is comprised of 44 minor hockey associations.
The development program is heading into its fifth year with the goal of fostering the growth of female hockey across the Lower Mainland by mentoring players, coaches, referees and administrators.
“Really excited to be back for another year,” said Campbell in a post on social media. “Lots of work to do to continue to grow the game.”
Campbell, who turns 27 on May 1, is one of the youngest general managers in junior hockey.
We are pleased to announce that Tali Campbell, General Manager and Vice President of the @BCHLExpress, will return as General Manager of the PCAHA Female District Development Program for the 2022-23 season 🏒@PCAHAMain | @BCHockey_Source pic.twitter.com/vHWedPKWFF— PCAHA Female Hockey (@PCAHA_Female) March 24, 2022