Where Are They Now? Shawn Bates

This week we look back at another member of the 2001-2002 Islanders #17 Shawn Bates. Fans will remember Bates for one memorable goal in the 2002 playoffs against Toronto in Game 4 at Nassau Coliseum. Due to other commitments this week I bring you this week’s throwback today instead of our usual day on Thursday.

Shawn Bates was a 4th round draft pick of the Boston Bruins in 1993. After being drafted, Bates opted to play hockey on the collegiate level for the Boston University Terriers. In four years as a member of the Terriers, Bates helped lead the team to the Frozen Four each year which also included two NCAA Finals appearances and winning the NCAA Championship in 1995, Overall, Bates compiled 73 goals, 71 assists, 144 points, and 190 penalty minutes in a total of 160 games. After college, he then returned to the Boston Bruins organization where he spent 4 years with the team  from 1997-2001 splitting time with their AHL affiliate the Providence Bruins and the NHL club. (Photo Credit- www.spokeo.com)

In 2001, Bates signed with the Islanders as a free agent. He joined the club in a major year of change that also included new head coach Peter Laviolette, and the acquisitions of Michael Peca, Alexi Yashin, and Chris Osgood. Bates’ first season with the Islanders featured his best statistical year of his NHL career with a high in Goals, Assists, and Points both in the regular season and the playoffs. That year Bates scored 17 goals and 35 assists for 52 points. His most memorable moment in an Islanders uniform was that season in the playoffs scoring on a penalty shot in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal playoff series against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Bates beat Curtis Joseph top shelf to give the Islanders a 4–3 lead with 2:30 to go in regulation, and the Islanders went on to win the game and tied the series 2–2. This was the third playoff Penalty Shot in Islander history and the first that was successful. You can relive this great moment in Islanders history by clicking here with Howie Rose on the call.

Following the 2002 playoffs, Shawn Bates remained a productive part of the Islanders for the next 3 seasons and in the 2002-2003 he led the NHL with six shorthanded goals. Bates was always a threat when the Islanders were on the penalty kill. He remained with the Islanders until 2008 when the team bought out his contract. He then went to play overseas for two seasons in Finland and Austria before retiring in 2010. Shawn Bates finished his NHL career playing in 465 games scoring 72 goals and 126 assists over 10 seasons.

Today you can find Shawn Bates still involved with the game of hockey in his hometown at his high school alma mater Medford High in Medford, Massachusetts. He is now the head coach of the boys ice hockey team at Medford, a position he has held since May 2013. “It’s nice to hire within the community," said school athletic director Bob Maloney in an interview with www.boston.com. "Shawn’s resume is impeccable, and we’re looking for a fresh start.” Shawn is a 1993 Medford graduate and was part of the first public school team to reach the championship round of the Super 8 tournament, and he is the program’s all-time leading scorer (103 goals, 139 assists). According to the Boston article, Bates is also responsible for two $1,000 scholarships in hockey and basketball for Medford High graduates, and he also donated a scoreboard for the high school's LoConte Rink. Bates can be seen in the center of this photo with recipients of his scholarship. (Photo Credit- www.wickedlocal.com)

My Take

Shawn Bates will always have a special place in my memorable Islanders moments of my lifetime. I had the honor of being in attendance the night of the penalty shot in 2002, I was with my dad sitting in section 318 at the Coliseum and at the time it was the best hockey game I ever attended. I remember how loud the place got when the goal was scored and the atmosphere in the parking lot after the game was memorable as well. It made me think about what the glory days of the 1980’s must have been like.

Overall as a player, I always enjoyed Bates’ game and his play on what fans may remember as the “Lucky 7” line alongside Michael Peca and Mark Parrish. The line was developed as they all had 7’s at the end of their number (Bates 17, Peca 27, Parrish 37). He always bought excitement to the game especially on the penalty kill and at times was a game changer and something the Islanders needed at a time when they were rebuilding. (Photo Credit- penjamins/Flickr)

Next week we will return on Thursday where we profile a key member of the Stanley Cup teams John Tonelli. If you have any suggestions on who you might like to see profiled send me a Tweet to have your ideas considered.

-John Santamaria

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