Hockey Legends

of Grande Prairie

Carter Rowney: One Among Thousands

Today (June 11, 2017) Carter Rowney – born in Grande Prairie and raised on a nearby farm in Sexsmith (population 2771) joined his Pittsburgh Penguin teammates to hoist the Stanley Cup after defeating the Nashville Predators in Game Six of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. A recent study reports the chances of moving from minor hockey to a steady NHL career are roughly one in four thousand. Even greater are the odds of earning a Stanley Cup ring.

Carter Rowney developed his skills as a highly talented forward in Grande Prairie’s Minor Hockey program initially with the Golden Arrow Bantam AAA Storm (2003/04), the Boston Pizza Minor Midgets (2004/05) and during the 2005/06 season he played first for the AAA Midget Storm and later that season he moved on to play for the bantam AAA team.

Golden Arrow Bantam AAA Storm.
Photo courtesy of Grande Prairie Minor Hockey

He graduated from the minor ranks to play Junior A hockey where Brother Bob and I followed his development during the 2007/08 hockey season when he played for the Grande Prairie Storm in the Alberta Junior Hockey League. That year he distinguished himself as the team’s best two-way player. Carter played an important role in enabling the Grande Prairie Storm win the team’s second league title in the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) (2008/09) and was the playoff MVP. We were convinced that he had a future as a career hockey player.

Carter Rowney, left, and Dennis Rix were part of the 2009 AJHL Championship winning team.
Photo courtesy of the Grande Prairie Storm

Since leaving his hometown Carter played with four different teams before he received a call from the Pittsburgh Penguins on January 31 of this year to face the Nashville Predators for his first appearance in the NHL at the age of 27. Following that first appearance that was witnessed by friends and family, Carter stated ”I didn’t know if I would ever shake off the nerves.” – he did and he has made a substantial contribution to the team. In game five of the series playing against Ottawa he registered three assists in Pittsburgh’s decisive win against Ottawa. As a fourth line centre he has accumulated three goals and four assists. Additionally he has been recognized for his rugged play registering the team’s most hits. At 6’2’ and 200 pounds he has the ability to slow down the opposition and does so fearlessly.

Coach Mike Sullivan states ”he is determined, he’s physical, he’s a stiff player, he’s strong on the stick, he’s good on the wall and he’s a strong face-off man.” That should not surprise those of us who remember that he was a farm boy who developed muscle and brawn shoveling grain on his Dad’s farm. Carter has fond memories of his rural roots in the Peace River country.

Bridgestone Arena on Broadway in Nashville Tennessee, the heartland of the Southern US is a long distance from the Peace River Country and seems a very unlikely location for a raucous crowd of over one hundred thousand fans to gather in a hockey arena and nearby streets to support a hockey team. Football and basketball – yes - but hockey???

Carter - In the midst of the din that has characterized Nashville hockey fans, if you listened carefully you would have heard cheers from your fans in far away Grande Prairie and Sexsmith every time you touched the puck or knocked an opponent off the puck. We are proud of you.

You have distinguished yourself as more than one in four thousand. Bring home the cup.

Stan Neufeld