Bishop Has Big Plans for Future

6-foot-7 goaltender hopes to one day be big in nets for St. Louis

Wednesday, 06.18.2008 / 1:00 PM CT / St Louis Blues - Features
By Chris Pinkert  - St. Louis Blues
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Bishop Has Big Plans for Future
Ben Bishop, who signed his first pro contract in March, went 2-2-0-1 for Peoria (Photo courtesy of the Peoria Rivermen).
Ben Bishop was enjoying a nice weekend of rest and relaxation at a friend’s house at the Lake of the Ozarks when he received a call from a hotel more than 1,000 miles away.

“Do you know how to get to the rink in St. Louis?” asked the caller.

Bishop, who grew up in Des Peres, knew exactly how to find the rink.

“Yes, I do,” Bishop said.

“Well then, congratulations,” responded the caller. “You just got drafted by St. Louis.”

The 2004-05 lockout canceled the original plans to hold the 2005 NHL Entry Draft in Ottawa. Instead, on short notice, the league held the draft in a hotel conference room without much fanfare aside from Sidney Crosby’s appearance as the leagues’ No. 1 overall pick.

It didn’t matter much, though. Ask Bishop about draft day and he remembers every single detail, whether he was there in person or not. He knows the date, where he was, who he was visiting, what words were said…everything.

“I’ll never forget that,” Bishop said. “It sounds kind of corny, but it really was a dream come true. Watching (the Blues) my whole life, always rooting for them. To get a chance to play for them and (hopefully) win a Stanley Cup with them…”

His voice trails off. There are no words to describe the excitement he feels to be part of the St. Louis Blues organization.

Rest assured, the feeling is mutual.

While winning a Cup with the Blues may still be a bit down the road for Bishop, he took the first step three months ago when he wrapped up his junior season at the University of Maine and joined the Peoria Rivermen for the late season stretch run.

Bishop went 2-2-0-1 for Peoria with a 2.40 goals against average and a .908 save percentage in five games. With Peoria’s playoff hopes fading, the team gave Bishop the rest of the season to rehab a nagging knee injury, but Bishop says getting a taste of the pros should speed up his development.

“I didn’t really want to leave my school and all my teammates there,” Bishop said about the decision to leave Maine. “But I felt it was time to move up and start my pro career. It’s a good chance for me to get some experience here in Peoria. I’m real excited to be here.

“It’s a lot different,” Bishop added. “The way (the game is) played, the way it’s controlled. The guys are a lot better passes and shooters.”

While many prospects have a long and windy road to the pros, Bishop’s route was especially long and tough on a young player. After his junior year in high school, the St. Louis native headed to a small town outside of Dallas to play junior hockey with the North American Hockey League’s Texas Tornado.

At 6-foot-7, Ben Bishop provided a big presence in net for the University of Maine before joining the Peoria Rivermen (Getty Images).
“It was tough to send me out of here early,” Bishop said about his parents decision to further his hockey career. “(But) they were real supportive and they made it down quite a bit.”

Living away from home, Bishop focused on hockey while finishing his senior year of high school nearby. He recorded a 35-8 record for the Tornado and finished the season with a 1.93 goals-against-average, a .920 save percentage and five shutouts.

From there, it was three seasons at the University of Maine.

“When I started to look at colleges, I looked at the Michigans and Maines, the schools with the real good goalies,” Bishop said. “When Maine came calling, I went on a visit there and it was a no brainer.

“It was a great experience. Everybody I talked to said it’s the best place to play hockey. Best fans, best arena, just a great experience.”

Although he never claimed a national championship, Bishop reached the Frozen Four twice while playing for Maine, including the 2007 tournament, which was held at Scottrade Center in St. Louis. In three seasons at the university, Bishop ranks fifth all times in wins (55), fourth in goals-against-average (2.29) and third in games played (99).

But from here on out, it’s about getting to St. Louis and wearing a Blue Note on his chest.

“I’m not there yet, so I can’t let it get to me,” Bishop said. “(But) I’m one step away and I’m really excited to eventually be putting that jersey on.”




1 ANA 76 47 22 7 222 213 101
2 NSH 75 46 21 8 214 180 100
3 STL 74 46 21 7 226 182 99
4 CHI 74 44 24 6 209 172 94
5 MIN 75 43 25 7 215 185 93
6 VAN 74 43 27 4 212 199 90
7 WPG 75 39 24 12 212 197 90
8 LAK 74 37 23 14 199 184 88
9 CGY 75 40 28 7 219 199 87
10 DAL 75 36 29 10 232 240 82
11 SJS 74 36 30 8 207 210 80
12 COL 74 34 28 12 200 206 80
13 EDM 75 22 40 13 181 254 57
14 ARI 75 23 44 8 158 249 54


V. Tarasenko 74 35 35 29 70
A. Steen 72 24 38 6 62
J. Schwartz 67 24 31 16 55
D. Backes 73 25 29 7 54
T. Oshie 66 19 32 13 51
P. Stastny 66 14 29 6 43
A. Pietrangelo 74 6 35 -2 41
K. Shattenkirk 49 8 32 18 40
J. Lehtera 67 11 28 19 39
P. Berglund 69 8 12 -6 20
B. Elliott 24 12 3 .921 2.16
J. Allen 19 6 4 .906 2.45

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