The 2020 NHL Draft is being held virtually this year on Oct. 6 and 7 and, like most years, the BCHL will be well-represented.
This year’s highest-ranked prospect from the league is Chilliwack Chiefs forward Ethan Bowen. The 18-year-old Chilliwack native is entering his third full season with his hometown Chiefs before he heads off to the University of North Dakota next year.
Bowen was ranked as the 119th North American skater by NHL Central Scouting in their final rankings.
We caught up with Bowen to talk about the draft and more.
BCHL: You dealt with a broken wrist last year that had you out for a long period of time. How frustrating was it to miss all that time knowing it was your draft year?
Bowen: It was obviously tough. No kid wants to get injured in their draft year. It was just something that happened and I had to make the most out of it. I was just in the gym everyday, pumping my legs and doing everything I could, so when I came back, I could step in without missing a beat. My trainers were really good down at Club XO. They really helped me push myself and get my legs back to where they needed to be, so I could be successful on the ice.
BCHL: Your coach Brian Maloney has talked about you developing your two-way game as opposed to just being a pure goal scorer. Is that something you’ve worked on or has it come naturally as you get more mature?
Bowen: This summer, I was really working on transitioning my game to become a 200-foot player. It was really big this summer for me to work on my defensive positioning. When you’re coming into the BCHL as a first-year player in the league, you’re just going to focus on the things that you already know how to do. My first year, I knew how to play offence and that was the only thing I really focused on. After my first year, my coaches and I had a pretty long meeting and they said that, to be successful at this level and the levels coming up, you have to be able to play in the defensive zone and be a full 200-foot player.
BCHL: When you saw that you were the highest-ranked BCHL player by NHL Central Scouting heading into this year’s draft, what was your reaction?
Bowen: It’s huge for me. It’s every kid’s dream when they’re younger to be drafted into the NHL. For me, to be in that spot right now, it’s a pretty cool feeling. Just being able to think about the fact that I’m at that stage in my hockey career, it’s pretty cool. I can’t wait for Oct. 7 and what happens that day.
BCHL: The draft is being held virtually this year due to the pandemic, but originally it was scheduled to be in Montreal. Were you planning on hopping on a plane and travelling there for it?
Bowen: Me and my dad were talking about it and we said that we were going to fly out there. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. If I were to get drafted, I don’t think my dad or I would want to miss that opportunity to go down, get the jersey and shake their hands. We were going to go, but obviously that changed. We’re more than happy to watch it at home. It’s still going to be the same experience and feeling if that happens.
BCHL: Any plans on draft day?
Bowen: I think it’s just going to be me and my immediate family. Maybe a couple friends or something. Other than that, nothing too crazy.
BCHL: If you were to describe yourself as a player to an NHL team that was interested in selecting you, what would you say?
Bowen: I’m a 200-foot player that can put the puck in the net. I like to think of myself as a power forward that can score. That’s something that I actually transitioned my game into these last few years – being a power forward. It’s huge at the next level because, to be good, you need to be able to drive the inside of the ice and play in the house area in front of the net. You need to be able to drive that and go to the dirty areas.
You can watch Bowen and the rest of the Chiefs all year long on HockeyTV. Visit your favourite team’s social media or website for a discount code to get $80 off a yearly subscription.
The BCHL’s 2020 NHL Draft coverage is brought to you by Chevrolet.