In the Right Place At the Right Time
February 8, 2011
What do former NHL players Jeremy Roenick, Luc Robitaille and Joe Nieuwendyk have in common? Outside of being terrific hockey players, the three played against Rivermen goaltender Ben Bishop when he was only 18 years old.
Not only did Bishop play against these former All-Stars, he beat them. The little known “All Star Shootout” was a charity hockey game during the NHL lockout in 2005, played at the Family Arena in St. Louis.
“My jaw dropped to the ground when I looked at the roster,” Bishop said. “It was a lot of fun, and I think it was one of the big reasons why I got drafted by the Blues.”
To add to the already exciting night, Bishop - a native of St. Louis and a lifelong St. Louis Blues fan - got to play alongside Blues greats Brett Hull and Al MacInnis.
It wouldn’t be long before the young goalie actually became a Blue. In the summer of 2005, the St. Louis Blues took Bishop with the 85th overall pick. “I never thought I would get drafted by them,” Bishop explained. “But when I did it was a dream come true.”
Ben Bishop would play three seasons with the University of Maine, collecting 55 total wins and leading the college to back-to-back Frozen Four appearances. In 2008 Bishop signed a contract with the St. Louis Blues and made his professional debut in a five-game stint with the Rivermen in the Spring.
During his first full professional campaign, the 2008-09 season, Bishop was called up by St. Louis to play backup. On Oct. 24, Bishop made his NHL debut in relief of Manny Legace, who suffered an injury after playing one period.
The 6-foot-7-inch Bishop became the tallest goalie ever to play in an NHL game, a record that still stands tall. “It’s a pretty cool accomplishment, but at the same time it doesn’t really mean that much,” Bishop insisted. “It’s a silly stat. It will probably be broken some day.”
Currently playing in Peoria, Bishop has had his best AHL season to date. He has posted a 2.65 GAA and a .911 SV%. He also has 12 wins on the year thus far, helping the Rivermen obtain one of the league’s best records.
“We have a really tight division; we still have a long way to go,” Bishop said. “I think we have a great team and a great mix of guys. It’s going well so far.”
Now 24, Bishop still has a promising future. In his young career he has seemed to be in the right place at the right time. If this trend continues, Ben Bishop will become a regular in the NHL.
-By: Benjamin Bean