It’s a far different story for each of them, but no one can ever take away from Justin Schultz and Beau Bennett that they are Stanley Cup champions.
The pair of BCHL grads got to hoist the Cup Sunday night in San Jose as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the San Jose Sharks 3-1 in Game 6 to clinch the title.
Schultz, acquired by Pittsburgh from Edmonton on Feb. 27 in exchange for a 2016 third-round pick, assisted on the Pens first goal of the game Sunday – a power-play tally by Brian Dumoulin. Schultz wound up with four assists in 15 postseason games, his first taste of the NHL playoffs.
After playing two seasons for his hometown West Kelowna Warriors, Schultz embarked on a three-year NCAA career at Wisconsin. He was drafted from the Warriors, 43rd overall by Anaheim in 2008, after his rookie BCHL season. He wound up signing with Edmonton as a free agent out of Wisconsin after his junior season
In 103 BCHL games, the 6-foot-2, 193-pound rearguard had 25 goals and 60 assists.
Bennett, drafted 20th overall by Pittsburgh in 2010, again battled injuries for most of the regular season and suited up for just one playoff game. The product of Gardena, Calif. scored six goals and six assists in 33 regular-season games this past season.
With the Penticton Vees in the 2009-10 campaign, Bennett notched 41 goals and added 79 assists for 120 points which gave him a share – with Salmon Arm’s Mark Zengerle – of the 2010 BCHL scoring title. He was voted the Interior Conference recipient of the Bruce Allison Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year.
Bennett went on to play two seasons at the University of Denver before jumping to the pro ranks. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound forward has played parts of the last four seasons in the NHL with Pittsburgh.
Other members of the Penguins with BCHL ties are player development coach Mark Recchi and director of amateur scouting Randy Sexton. Recchi played the 1984-85 BCJHL season with the Langley Eagles before going on to a 1,652-game NHL career which saw him amass 577 goals and 956 assists for 1,533 points. Sexton did not play in the BCHL but has two sons that are league alums. His oldest son Ben was a teammate of Bennett’s on the 2009-10 Penticton Vees before going on to an NCAA career at Clarkson while his younger son Patrick captained the Vees to the 2015 Fred Page Cup BCHL title before heading off to NCAA hockey at Wisconsin where he just finished his freshman year.