Eastern Iowa has a bigger influence on the National Hockey League then you may think. So far this season, there have been 18 different players that once played in eastern Iowa currently playing in the NHL.

Waterloo Black Hawks Skater Brandon Montour
Brandon Montour (Photo: Britta Lewis)

When Brandon Montour made his National Hockey League debut on December 29, 2016, he became the sixth different former Waterloo Black Hawks skater to play in the NHL this season. In total, 18 different NHL players this season once skated for a United State Hockey League team in Eastern Iowa (complete list below).

Former Black Hawks skater Zach Sanford also made his NHL this season. Anthony DeAngelo and Ivan Provorov once spent time with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders before making their first NHL start during the current season. Dubuque Fighting Saints alum Matt Benning had his dream come true this year when he made his first start for the Edmonton Oliers.

The list of former NHL alumni is even deeper for the three teams (Waterloo Black Hawks alumni, Cedar Rapids alumni, Dubuque Fighting Saints alumni)

That's why I love watching USHL games. It's the same reason I love catching Northwoods League and Midwest League baseball games. I love watching those future stars fight for their dream, a chance at the big time.


  • Anthony DeAngelo - Arizona Coyotes (R)
  • Tommy Wingels - San Jose Sharks
  • Alec Martinez - Los Angeles Kings
  • Justin Abdelkader - Detroit Red Wings
  • Ivan Provorov - Philadelphia Flyers (R)
  • Jayson Megna - Vancouver Canucks
  • Chris Wideman - Ottawa Senators
  • Matt Tennyson - Carolina Panthers


  • Johnny Gaudreau - Calgary Flames
  • Matt Benning - Edmonton Oilers (R)
  • Zemgus Girgensons - Buffalo Sabers
  • Michael Matheson - Florida Panthers


  • Joe Pavelski - San Jose Sharks
  • Zach Sanford - Washington Capitals (R)
  • Craig Smith - Nashville Predators
  • J.T. Brown - Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Vinnie Hinostroza - Chicago Blackhawks
  • Brandon Montour - Anaheim Ducks (R)

(R) = debuted this season (2016/17)

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