Former Creston Valley Thunder Cat Jake Livingstone made his NHL debut today with the Nashville Predators against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Livingstone, a defenceman, played 16:08, including six seconds on the penalty-kill, in a 3-0 victory.
Livingstone signed with the Predators from the Minnesota State University-Mankato Mavericks, where he played for three seasons. He joined the Mavericks from the BCHL Langley Rivermen.
Livingstone, who played 63 games for his hometown Thunder Cats between 2014-17, recorded six goals and 28 points in the regular season. He also collected two assists in eight playoff games in the 2015-16 season.
We’ve got a hot lap! 🔥
Welcome to the show, Jake! pic.twitter.com/E9a14ZbH5Q
— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) April 6, 2023
Jake Livingstone ‘Ready for a New Challenge’ With Predators
by Emma Lingan @Emma_Lingan / Senior Content Manager & Beat Reporter
Jake Livingstone grinned from ear to ear as he stood in the locker room at Centennial Sportsplex on Friday morning.
He didn’t have much time to talk, though – he only had 10 minutes until his online Business Policy and Strategy class.
The 23-year-old defenseman, who signed a one-year, entry-level contract with the Nashville Predators for the 2022-23 season on Wednesday, plans to graduate from Minnesota State University at the end of the current semester. But he still has a few more academic credits to complete, including Agribusiness, Managerial Accounting and even Physical Education.
It’s clear that Livingstone has made his education a priority. So why did he decide to forgo his senior year for a shot at the NHL?
“I just thought I was ready for a new challenge,” he said. “I had this opportunity last year to go into my sophomore year and I wanted to graduate school and get that figured out… But the biggest thing is I just felt like I was ready.”
One of the most coveted collegiate free agents on the market, Livingstone could have had his pick of NHL teams. But for the Creston, B.C. native, the decision to sign with Nashville was a simple one.
“It kind of goes back to when I chose my school,” Livingstone said. “There’s good people in this organization. They treat everybody well, andI it was it was easy to tell that right away. [I’ve seen] what they’ve done with their prospects and their development staff here, and the coaching staff and obviously the GM and everybody. So it was an easy decision.”
Livingstone capped off a three-year career at Minnesota State by being named to the All-CCHA First Team and claiming the conference’s Defenseman of the Year award for the second straight season. He earned the honors after establishing NCAA career highs in assists (27) and points (35) in 2022-23, his junior campaign; he also led all CCHA blueliners in assists (17) and points (22) during conference play.
The 6-foot-3, 206-pound blueliner, who also served as an alternate captain, closed out his collegiate tenure with seven points (1g-6a) in his final four games, helping lead the Mavericks to the Mason Cup as CCHA Tournament champions and a spot in the NCAA Tournament, where they fell to St. Cloud State in the opening round.
Head Coach John Hynes said he spoke with Livingstone on the phone for nearly 30 minutes last Monday when the latter was in the process of making his decision. He was impressed from the start with Livingstone, both as a player and as a person.
“He’s a big, strong skating defenseman,” Hynes said. “He’s a right-shot guy. He’s got a great personality. I think he fits what we’re looking for not only on the ice, but off the ice just in the type of hid he is. He has passion for the game, he’s a coachable player and he’s got great character. So i think when you combine his on-ice and his off-ce [qualities], those are the type of players and people that you want to have in the organization.”
Undrafted, Livingstone enjoyed a decorated collegiate career while with Minnesota State, tallying 80 points (21g-59a) and a +52 rating in 111 contests. He amassed several accolades following a 31-point (9g-22a) sophomore season in 2021-22, including his first CCHA Defenseman of the Year and All-CCHA First Team honors en route to winning the first of back-to-back conference tournament titles. As a freshman in 2020-21, Livingstone was chosen to the WCHA’s All-Rookie Team the NCAA West Region’s All-Tournament Team after tallying 14 points (4g-10a) and a +15 rating.
“I was fortunate enough to play for a coach that has had a lot of players move on from the college programs,” Livingstone said. “[Calgary Flames forward] Walker Duehr was one of my teammates. Nathan Smith in Arizona did the same thing that I did last year, and my D-partner this year [Akito Hirose] went to Vancouver. We were just bouncing [ideas off] each other about what we thought and it was just an easy decision [to come to the NHL].”
Prior to enrolling at Minnesota State, Livingstone spent four seasons with the BCHL’s Langley Rivermen, where he posted 104 points (22g-82a) in 185 games. He was named Langley’s Most Valuable Player in 2018-19 and in the following season was selected to the BCHL’s Second All-Star Team.
“I think I’m a two way defenseman that is going to be really good on the penalty kill,” Livingstone said when asked what he brings to Nashville’s roster. “I think that’s kind of my A game. I think I’m going to join and hopefully be part of the secondary scoring. I’ve got a lot of length… so I think I add that to the back end. I’m not the most physical guy but I get my bumps.”
Livingstone has taken some time to familiarize himself with his new teammates, the coaching staff and the system. In the meantime, expect him to be hitting the books – particularly for his Managerial Accounting class.
“My professor for that one is a [Winnipeg] Jets fan,” Livingstone said.
He chucked, adding, “Hopefully, he passes me.”