By Carter Brooks
Photo courtesy of Jermaine Loewen
Jamaican-born Jermaine Loewen has signed a standard American Hockey League contract with the Chicago Wolves.
Loewen - who grew up in Arborg after being abandoned by his birth parents at age one in Jamaica - spent the past five seasons playing for the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League, where he boosted his stock, ultimately putting together a 64-point campaign in 66 games in 2017-18, before being named team captain the following fall.
The now 21-year-old was drafted 199th overall in the seventh round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft by the Dallas Stars, becoming the first player from Jamaica to ever be selected at an NHL draft. The Stars, however, did not tender a qualifying offer to the 6-foot-4, 220-pound forward this offseason, making him a free agent. In true Manitoba fashion, Loewen skated with Kelly McCrimmon's Vegas Golden Knights, before being re-assigned to the affiliated Chicago Wolves.
Chicago will most likely be Loewen's home for the 2019-20 AHL season, where he will have the chance to skate alongside fellow Manitoban Keegan Kolesar with the Wolves, while attempting to earn a call up to the big-league Golden Knights, where Manitobans Ryan Reaves, Cody Eakin and Cody Glass should be spending the majority of the season.
In his 314 game WHL career with the Blazers, Loewen put up 82 goals, 150 points and 377 penalty minutes. The Wolves lost to Morgan Geekie, Stelio Mattheos and the Charlotte Checkers in the Calder Cup Finals in five games this past spring. Chicago put up 98 points with a 44-22-10 record to finish the 2018-19 season atop the AHL's Central Division.