NAHL Exclusive: Throwback Thursday
November 6, 2014
The NAHL is excited to launch a new feature on nahl.com entitled ‘Throwback Thursday.’ Now in its 39th year of operation, the NAHL has a long and accomplished list of alumni. Some have gone onto make playing hockey their careers in the NHL and in the minor leagues. Some have gone onto the NCAA, received their degrees and are now making an impact in the sport in other areas. Others have used their time spent playing in the NAHL to mold them into the businessmen, community leaders and industry builders that they are today. No matter the situation, their common bond is that they played junior hockey in the NAHL and it was an important step in molding them into who they are today.
Today’s featured alumni is Jim Slater. Slater, 32, is one of the better players to ever play in the NAHL as he spent a considerable amount of time playing and developing in the league. Slater has turned that opportunity into a long and successful NHL career that continues today.
Slater is a forward who is originally from Petoskey, Michigan. His junior career began in the 1998-99 season when he began what was to be a three-year stint in the league, all with the Cleveland Jr. Barons. During his rookie season, Slater would register a very respectable 33 points in 50 games as a 16-year-old.
The next two seasons were breakout ones for Slater and really put him on the NCAA radar. His best NAHL season came during the 1999-00 campaign when he was 2nd in NAHL scoring with 85 points in 56 games played. That season, he was named to the All-NAHL 1st Team.
The next year, Slater again was named to the All-NAHL 1st Team, marking the rare occasion that feat has happened to the same player in back-to-back seasons in the NAHL. During the 2000-01 season with Cleveland recorded 64 points in 48 games played. He also recorded 12 points in just six playoff games that season.
In his NAHL career, Slater played in 154 career regular season games, recording 182 points, including 75 goals. While playing in the NAHL, Slater would commit to play NCAA Division I hockey for Michigan State.
If Slater’s NAHL career was good, his NCAA career was even better and put him on the map as an elite hockey player that had NAHL potential. He recorded 32 points his freshman season and following that year, he was drafted in the 1st round of the 2002 NHL Draft by the Atlanta Thrashers. He was also named to the CCHA All-Rookie Team.
In his sophomore season, Slater recorded 44 points in 37 games played as was named to the All-CCHA 1st Team.
In both his junior and senior seasons, Slater recorded 48 points in each season and in 2003-04 he was not only named as a 2nd team All-Americans, but also was a Hobey Baker Award Finalist. In 157 career NCAA games, Slater registered an astounding 172 career points.
Following his senior season, Slater went straight to the NHL as he spent his entire 2005-06 rookie campaign with the Thrashers. He recorded 20 points in 71 games during his first NHL season.
Slater would play in the NHL over the course of the next 10 seasons with the Atlanta Thrashers until the end of the 2010-11 season and then with the Winnipeg Jets from the 2011-12 season to present day. Slater’s best career NHL season came during the 2011-12 season when he recorded 21 points in 78 games with the Jets.
At the end of the season he served as an assistant captain for the United States Team at the 2012 World Hockey Championships.
To date, Slater has appeared in over 500 career NHL games and to this day remains an important veteran in the Winnipeg line-up. Slater is currently the longest tenured player with the Jets/Thrashers organization, having played with them since the 2005-06 season.