Today on Minnesota Wild A-Z we take a look at Shawn Belle. Belle is a 29 year old, 6′ 1″, 235lb, left handed shot defenseman. He was born in Edmonton Alberta, Canada on January 3, 1985. He has totaled 20 games, over 5 years, in the NHL for four teams including the Minnesota Wild.
He played 9 games for the Wild during the 2005-06 season. In those games he totaled zero goals, one assist and four penalty minutes. That assist would be Shawn’s only NHL point. Belle also played for the Montreal Canadiens (2 games), Edmonton Oilers (5 games) and Colorado Avalanche (4 games).
Most of his professional career has been spent in the AHL. He played for 5 minor league teams from 2006 through 2011. During those seasons he played in 317 games, scored 19 goals and added 65 assists. Belle also accumulated 459 penalty minutes while in the AHL. Surprisingly, only 45 of those minutes are from fighting majors.
Shawn Belle’s road to the NHL started at the age of 16 with the Regina Pats and Tri-City Americans of the WHL . In the 2000-01 season he played a total of 6 games for the two squads. The following season he played his first full season in juniors playing 64 games for the Tri-City Americans. He totaled one goal and 17 assists that season along with 51 PIMS.
Belle would play a total of 4 full seasons with Tri-City. In 2002-03, his draft year, his stats jumped a bit. In 66 games he potted 7 goals and 14 assists with 79 penalty minutes and a -9 rating. In the 2003 NHL Entry Draft the St. Louis Blues took him in the 1st round with the 30th overall pick. The Blues had some high expectation for Shawn Belle that never came to fruition in the NHL.
After the 2003-04 season Bell was traded for the first time. He was sent from the St. Louis Blues to Dallas Stars for Jason Bacashihua. After the trade Belle would stay in Juniors playing his final season with the Tri-City Americans. This season his stats exploded. He scored 13 goals, added 32 assists and picked up 79 penalty minutes over the course of 62 games. It was time for Shawn Belle to turn pro.
Shawn Belle turned pro and joined the Iowa Stars the Dallas Stars AHL affiliate for the 2005-06 season. In 45 games he totaled one goal, two assists, a -4 rating and 63 minutes in penalties. This is where Belle hit the wall so to speak. He quickly discovered the pro game was a lot different than juniors. Where he had been a dominant defenseman before he was struggling now. His speed and talent just didn’t translate well into professional North American Hockey.
In June of 2006 Belle was traded from the Dallas Stars along with Martin Skoula to the Minnesota Wild for Willie Mitchell and a second round pick in the 2007 draft. This would be the start of Shawn Belle’s time in the Wild organization. The 2006-07 season would be his first full season with the Houston Aeros. In 54 games he would score 4 goals, 14 assists, and total 73 penalty minutes. One stat that stands out though is a -10 rating.
The 2006-07 season would also be Shawn’s NHL debut with 9 games in St. Paul with the Wild. Apparently he failed to sufficiently impress the Wild management and coaches as these would be his only games in a Minnesota Wild sweater. Belle would spend one more season in Houston with some of the worst numbers of his pro career. One goal, two assists, 74 penalty minutes, and a 0 rating over 63 games. His +/- rating was his only stat that improved.
The following summer on July,11th Shawn Belle was traded once again. This time he headed to the Montreal Canadiens organization for Center Corey Locke. This was basically a swap of minor league players with minimal NHL experience. Bell would go on to play for the Canadiens AHL affiliate Hamilton Bulldogs for a pair of seasons with 2 games with the NHL team.
Shawn Belle then headed to the Edmonton Oilers organization as a free agent. He spent part of the 2010-11 season with the AHL Oklahoma City Barons and played 5 games for the Oilers. He was then traded to the Colorado Avalanche and played 4 games with the Avs and a dozen with the Lake Erie Monsters. This would be the end of Belle’s time in North American pro hockey.
The last three seasons have seen Shawn Belle play for the Manheim Eagles in Germany and most recently for Farjestads BK Karlstad in Sweden. That wraps up our look at the career of Shawn Belle on Minnesota Wild A-Z. Next time we will be profiling defenseman Ladislav Benysek.