The awards Prairie Ridge defenseman Pat Biewald has amassed this season have been humbling, as well as a little bit surprising to him.
Biewald was named to the Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois Showcase team, he made the All-Scholastic Hockey League team and most recently was selected to the Blackhawk Alumni All-Star team.
“It’s really amazing,” Biewald said. “I didn’t think my senior year would be this successful. It shows that hard work pays off, I guess.”
Biewald, a senior and third-year varsity player, gets to attend the Blackhawks’ skate-around on Friday morning at the United Center with the other winners, then gets a tour of the locker room where he will meet some of the players. There also will be lunch with the Hawks and some team executives.
Then, on Monday, March 4, he will attend the Keith Magnusson Luncheon, where he will receive his award and meet former Hawks. He plans on attending the skate-around with his mother Anne, then the luncheon with his father Bob.
“This whole month has been very successful,” Biewald said. “It’s a phenomenal opportunity and experience. I can’t wait for it. I’ve watched the Blackhawks since I was 4 years old. It will be an amazing experience, one I’ll take with me the rest of my life.”
What makes it even more special is that Biewald is one of six players chosen to the Blackhawks Alumni team (three forwards, two defensemen and a goalie). Wolves coach Rick Rewiako does not remember any former Prairie Ridge players earning as many honors.
“He’s probably the best defenseman who’s come through this organization,” Rewiako said. “When you take care of your own zone, everything comes together. He’s our captain and a great leader. He’s meant so much to this program.”
Prairie Ridge is 28-21-6 for the season, playing in the rugged Scholastic Hockey League, in the High School Invitational Tournament and in several other top-notch tournaments around the nation. Biewald has 10 goals, 28 assists and is plus-13 for the season.
“I think he’s one of the top two defensemen in the state,” Rewiako said. “That’s hard to accomplish. The Blackhawk team is really hard to get. He has a 4.0 GPA; I can’t say enough good things about him.”
The Wolves will finish their playoffs and the AHAI Blackhawk Cup Red Division State Tournament in the next few weeks. Then, next in line for Biewald will be finding a junior hockey team for the next two years. Rewiako has been in contact with the NAHL’s Bismarck and Sioux St. Marie.
“Pat is a [NCAA Division I] prospect, but hockey’s not a direct path like in other sports,” Rewiako said. “Hopefully, after two years of Junior A he can go D-I.”
Biewald (5-foot-11, 170 pounds) will attend some predraft camps in hopes of being noticed by Junior teams.
“I’d love to play two years and then get a scholarship,” Biewald said. “Junior hockey is something I’ve wanted to do since Squirts, when I was 10. It’s definitely a dream I want to pursue.”
• Joe Stevenson is a senior sports writer for the Northwest Herald. He can be reached by email at email@example.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @nwh_JoePrepZone.