California Rubber

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San Jose native, Jr. Sharks alum McKown signs NHL deal with Blue Jackets


Colorado College junior forward Hunter McKown has agreed to terms on a three-year, entry-level contract with the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets beginning this season.

McKown will forego his senior season with the Tigers in inking the contract.

“I am so proud of Hunter and all he has been able to accomplish as a Tiger,” said Colorado College coach Kris Mayotte. “He has worked incredibly hard to become one of the best players in college hockey. His growth not only as a player but as a leader and as a person has been fun to be a part of. Our staff has enjoyed coaching him every day. We are thankful to his commitment of living ‘TIGER,’ and helping this program take big steps forward.

“I can’t wait to watch him as a pro help Columbus in the near future.”

McKown, who was not drafted by an NHL team and signs with Columbus as a free agent, led the Tigers this season with career highs of 21 goals and 28 points. He leads the nation with 14 power-play goals, the most by a Colorado College player in one season since Brett Sterling had 17 in 2005-06.

The San Jose native and Jr. Sharks product, who also led the team this year with 140 shots, recorded 55 points (36 goals, 19 assists) and seven game-winning goals in 96 career games at CC.

A 2023 honorable mention all-NCHC selection, McKown assumed a leadership role on the team this season, serving as an alternate captain. Last summer, he joined Mayotte and teammate Kaidan Mbereko on the U.S. National Junior Team that competed at the 2022 World Junior Championship in Edmonton, Alberta.

“I am excited to be joining the Columbus Blue Jackets,” McKown said. “I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity given to me by Colorado College. I can’t thank my coaches and teammates enough for helping me get to this point.”

McKown will join the team in Columbus later this week.

Photo/Russell Hons

(March 20, 2023)

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