Chris Bala was born September 24, 1978 in Alexandria, Virginia. The 2nd round choice, 58th overall selection of the Ottawa Senators in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, Bala is a graduate of the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference's Harvard Crimson Tide.
The Alexandria, Virginia native spent four seasons at the University of Harvard finishing with 99 points (45 goals, 54 assists) in 123 games earning ECAC All-Rookie Team honours in 1997-98.
A member of Team USA at the 1995 Under-17 Pacific Cup, Bala, known as an excellent skater with an effortless stride and fierce competitiveness, joined the Sens AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids for the 2001-02 season.
In his first year of professional hockey, Bala finished with 37 points (21 goals, 16 assists) in 70 games, sharing the team lead in goals with 21 while playing in six games with the Senators. Bala returned to the AHL for the 2002-03 season with the Binghamton Senators.