Ethan Bowen has never had a major hockey injury, so the last few weeks have been frustrating for the 17 year old.
A broken hand sustained in a Nov. 23 home game against the Powell River Kings has kept him on the sideline when he’d much rather be playing.
But, about halfway through his project six to eight week rehab, the teenager is seeing light at the end of the tunnel.
“The hand is doing good and feels pretty much normal right now,” the Chilliwack Chief said. “I can move my fingers normally and I don’t think I’m going to be out too much longer.
“It’s just one of those things that happens and you can’t control it. All you can do make the best of it and push even harder to achieve your goals.”
As of Wednesday, the Chilliwack product still had a cast on the hand. Soon as he’s able to, he’s ready to grab a stress ball and start squeezing strength back into his muscles.
Meanwhile, he’s been a fixture in the gym, working hard to stay in ‘game shape.’
“I’m in the gym for about two hours basically every day, doing a whole bunch of (tension) band stuff and cardio,” he explained. “I’m focused on building up my leg muscles so that I’m ready to jump back into the lineup the moment I’m cleared.”
Bowen got good news earlier in the week when he was named to the Team West roster for the upcoming CJHL Prospects Game.
He’s excited to take to the ice at the Dave Andreychuk Arena in Hamilton, Ontario.
“I think I’ll be ready by that time,” Bowen said. “Playing in this game was one of the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year, and I’m really excited to show the scouts what I can do.”
Bowen’s season was going well up until the injury as the forward made a concerted effort to work on his 200 foot game.
“I think I’m bringing a lot more of a physical edge than I did last year,” he said. “I’ve gotten stronger on my feet, which helps along the boards and in the corners, and I feel a lot more comfortable protecting the puck and making plays out there.”
All things that will impress a scout, and that’s huge for Bowen.
He’s hopeful of being drafted by a National Hockey League team next June, and hopes his injury doesn’t hurt his standing.
“I’m not worried. I’m a pretty confident hockey player and I feel I’ll return to the lineup without missing a beat,” he said. “It’s every kid’s dream to be drafted into the NHL and it’s pretty cool just being at the point in my career where I’m talking to scouts.
“It’s obviously stressful, but it’s enjoyable too and I’m soaking up every moment of it.”
Bowen’s Chiefs have been up and down without him.
The team moves into the Christmas break with losses in three of their last four games, but Bowen said recent results don’t reflect how much better the team is playing.
“We’ve been playing some really good hockey and the team is starting to come together,” he said. “A lot of guys are stepping up and even though we’re not coming out with wins, we’re working hard, doing all the right things and playing playoff hockey in the regular season.
“I don’t think you can ask for more than that.”
There is a sense that the BCHL team may be due for a jump, and the Christmas break may have arrived at the perfect time for the Chiefs.
“Everyone’s playing a team game, now, and there’s no individual play,” Bowen said. “I can almost promise you that after the Christmas break, we’ll be a whole different team.”
Chilliwack returns to action with a huge home-and-home Dec. 28 and 29 against Coquitlam.
The Chiefs host the Express Dec. 28 at the Chilliwack Coliseum.