Cranbrook’s Bowen Byram is a Stanley Cup champion with the Colorado Avalanche.
The Avalanche ended a 21-year drought on Sunday night, defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 to clinch the championship series in six games after romping through the post-season.
Byram, a product of Cranbrook, played major-junior with the WHL’s Vancouver Giants and was a top NHL prospect when drafted by the Avalanche fourth overall in 2019.
Byram tallied eight points in the post-season campaign, including an assist on the first goal of the final game on Sunday, feeding a cross-ice pass to Nathan MacKinnon, who put the Avs on the board, evening up the score following first blood, which was drawn by Lightning captain Steven Stamkos.
Byram battled injury adversity this season, missing nearly three months, but came back to action late in the season on April 5th against the Pitsburgh Penguins.
Artturi Lehkonn added the go-ahead goal and game winner just after the midway point of the second period.
The final round of the Stanley Cup playoffs featured a titanic clash between two teams looking to define their respective legacies.
The Lightning, back-to-back Stanley Cup champions — a rarity in today’s salary-cap strapped structure, were gunning for a historic dynasty with a third title, making it all the way to the final only to fall just short.
But the Avalanche built a youth-infused juggernaut led by the emergence of defenceman Cale Makar, who’s had a meteoric rise with 29 points in 19 games over the post-season and was awarded with the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP. Makar was also named the league’s top defenceman with the Norris Trophy at the NHL Awards.