Deep Dive: A Closer Look at Capitals Draft Pick Chase Clark

Photo: Tri-City Storm

On the second day of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, the Washington Capitals selected goaltender Chase Clark in the sixth round (183rd pick overall) of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. Clark, who was born on April 8, 2002, primarily played with the Jersey Hitmen in the United States Premiere Hockey League (USPHL), but also played three games with the Tri-City Storm of the United States Hockey League (USHL) in Kearney, Nebraska.

Chase was born and raised in Pendleton, NY, attending Starpoint School until the sixth grade. In 2014 Chase’s family moved to Williamsville where he attended Transit Road Middle School and Williamsville East High School.

According to NY Hockey Online, prior to beginning his career in organized hockey, Chase began skating on a pond near his Pendleton home. Following his first year with the Wheatfield Blades, he played House I select for the Blades the following season.

The highlight for Chase in his early years came in the 2017-18 season when he was selected to play in the GTHL prospects game (the GTHL’s All-Star event). Out of the 24 goalies in the league, Chase was one of four selected for the game.

Not only did he play, but he was selected MVP of the contest, a game in which Don Cherry dropped the ceremonial opening faceoff and presented the MVP Award to Chase.

To top off everything, Cherry not only mentioned the GTHL as well Chase, but a photo of Cherry and Chase was shown on the “Coaches Corner” broadcast.

“That was really pretty cool,” remarked Chase. “But to be mentioned by him on “Coaches Corner,” that really was cool.”

He reacted to being drafted by saying, “It’s definitely a dream come true. It’s something I have been waking up and working towards every single day. The journey is not over; I still have to do the work, but at the time, I was speechless. I couldn’t believe it.”

Clark played 22 games for the Hitmen in 2020-21, posting a record of 18-2-1, with three shutouts, a 1.92 goals against average and a .935 save percentage. He helped the Hitmen win the Dineen Cup.

In two games of the championship series, Clark stopped 49 of 51 shots and won both games. The Jersey Hitmen were also the regular season champions, winning the Founders Cup for the National Collegiate Development Conference (NCDC).

Clark believes playing for the Hitmen played a huge role in getting drafted, saying, “One hundred percent. I started out the season with the Omaha Lancers in the USHL but I got a concussion so they sent me home. Toby Harris, the head coach for the New Jersey Hitmen, gave me an opportunity and I made the most of it. Winning that championship, I really learned how to win.” He also credited his parents Doug and Keri for his success.

Prior to playing with the Hitmen, Clark played the 2019-20 season with the Buffalo Junior Sabres of the OJHL (Ontario Junior Hockey League) and the 2018-19 season with the Buffalo Regals of the GOJHL. His record for the Junior Sabres in 2019-20 was 12-8-1 in 24 games.

His plan for the 2021-22 season is to continue to play with the Tri-City Storm. After that, he would go to college, but he has not decided on a specific school.

Chase Clark’s father, Doug, remembers the moment his son answered a simple question that changed Chase’s hockey-playing life.

“Chase had started playing organized hockey with the Wheatfield Blades when he was seven,” recalled Doug of his son, now 15. “After his first house practice the coach came in the locker room and asked, “oh, by the way, does anyone want to play goalie?”

“Chase immediately raised his hand and yelled, “I do.” At that time Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres was his favorite player.

“He has been a netminder every since.”

Fun Facts

Clark, 19, has three sisters. His younger sister, Summer Clark, graduated in June and will be playing softball collegiately at the University of Syracuse. His two older sisters, Madison and Brianna, played collegiate volleyball and softball at East Carolina and Niagara, respectively.

By Diane Doyle

Further Reading
The Capitals Select Goaltender Chase Clark In The Sixth Round Of The 2021 NHL Entry Draft
Amherst Bee: Capitals Draft Williamsville’s Clark Chase in Sixth Round
Buffalo News: Buffalo Jr. Sabres Alum Chase Clark of Williamsville Drafted by Washington Capitals
Elite Prospects Profile: Chase Clark
Jersey Hitmen Website

About Diane Doyle

Been a Caps fan since November 1975 when attending a game with my then boyfriend and now husband.
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