Tomorrow evening, remedy the 2013 Stanley Cup Champions return to the United Center when they take on the Washington Capitals in the first regular-season game of the NHL. Since last year’s lockout shortened the season, see hockey fans everywhere are looking forward to Toews and Co. coming back stronger than ever. And with hockey being back comes cute eye candy, perfect for this HAM Hunter.
It’s obvious that the entire Blackhawks team is HAM-worthy, and there’s one new notable standout: Twenty-five-year-old Ben Smith, who has had an exceptional preseason performance, a full-time spot on the team’s roster as third line with Brandon Saad, (a former HAM!) and Andrew Shaw for the 2013-2014 season, and this week’s HAM of the Week.
The brown-eyed, light brown-haired boy from Avon, Conn., has been ready for anything and proving his strength in every way he can. Smith has spent time back and forth with the Blackhawks and the Rockford IceHogs, and judging by his current preseason standings (two goals and one assist in six games), he’s definitely not one to miss.
The stare says everything.
Born in Winston-Salem, N.C., the 5’11”, 207 lbs. forward began his regular season career at Westminster School in Avon, Conn., yielding 58 points during the 2005-2006 season. He continued his hockey skills with the Boston College Eagles from 2006-2010, scoring 57 goals throughout all four years. He helped lead the team to two NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team titles and was awarded the NCAA Championship Tournament MVP in 2010.
Though he was drafted by the Blackhawks in the 6th round of the 2008 NHL Draft, he made his Blackhawks debut in 2010 against the Edmonton Oilers as number 57. He also played a huge role in forcing overtime in Game 6 (and a resulting Game 7) of the 2011 Championship against the Vancouver Canucks. Smith suffered a concussion in the 2011-2012 preseason and was sent to the IceHogs. He scored 15 goals with the IceHogs that season.
Smith continued with the IceHogs in the 2012-2013 season, scoring 27 (second behind current Blackhawks teammate Jeremy Morin), but got called up by the Blackhawks in the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals, replacing an injured Marian Hossa for Game 3 against the Boston Bruins, this time as number 28.
Smith’s Day with the Cup
Smith is also an avid social media user. He joined fellow Blackhawks Brandon Bollig (a former HAM!) and Andrew Shaw for a Blackhawks Convention Panel on social media’s influence on sports. If you’re not following the dimpled cutie on Twitter (@BenASmith12), do so, and stat. He’s known to tweet adorable notes from his mom and baby pictures, and he has a sweet sense of humor. Consider our hearts melted.
Keep your eyes open for Ben Smith as he makes his soon-to-be full debut with the Blackhawks as he and his teammates debut the 2013 Stanley Cup banner tomorrow night!