It looks like Ryan Bowen will be going the Western Hockey League route after all.
One week after being named to the Chilliwack Chiefs captaincy group, the local kid has gone to Moose Jaw and wowed the Warriors.
The 17 year old forward has dressed for five preseason games, posting four goals and three assists.
He had two goals and two helpers in a Sept. 5 game against the Regina Pats and, after getting stronger and faster during offseason training, looks physically ready to compete at the major junior level.
“He’s a signed player and they made it clear to him that they really wanted him this year,” said Chiefs head coach/general manager Jason Tatarnic. “To be honest, he’s ready for it. The more I watched him the more I figured by Christmas time he’d be on his way anyways.”
Bowen was Moose Jaw’s fifth round bantam draft pick (94th ova) in 2013 and appeared in two regular season games last year.
In 53 games with the Chiefs, Bowen collected 10 goals and 28 points and the plan was for him to put in one more season in his hometown.
“I don’t think they were prepared for the idea that he was ready to make this step, and I think once they realized how much he improved over the summer, you can’t fault him for going,” Tatarnic said. “It’d be nice to have him but we understood eventually he was going to go.”
“But hey, if he’s a kid who ends up being a National Hockey League draft pick, we played a part in his development.”
Bowen was to wear an A for the Chiefs, and Tatarnic wasn’t ready to name a replacement when asked.
“It’ll be someone, at some point,” he said with a smile.
— One forward out and another in as the Chiefs bring back Eric Benshadle.
Actually, ‘bringing back’ may technically not be the correct term for a player who was recruited over the summer but never arrived for camp.
One of the Connecticut kids, Benshadle opted to try his luck in the USHL.
He was unsuccessful and Tatarnic’s expecting him to arrive in Chilliwack on Saturday.