FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Connor Bowie’s first week of school has so far been a bit of a blur, not because of usual back-to-school nervousness.
Last Friday, the Portland Winterhawks announced that they had signed the 15 year-old Fort St. John teen to play in the WHL next year. Bowie was picked first by the Hawks in the seventh round, or 133rd overall of this year’s WHL Bantam Draft on May 5th. Bowie had 39 goals and 23 assists for a combined total of 62 points in 28 Edmonton Rural Bantam Hockey League games with the Fort St. John Northern Metalic Bantam Flyers last season.
Portland Winterhawks Vice President, General Manager, and Head Coach Mike Johnston.said last Friday that “While Connor is a year away from being able to join us he made a big impression on our staff and has tremendous upside that we felt confident enough in signing him now knowing he will be in our lineup next season.” Because he is entering his 15-year-old season, Bowie won’t be eligible to join the Hawks until the 2017-2018 hockey season.
That doesn’t phase the 6’1”, 180 lb. centreman, who scored two goals during the Winterhawks’ Neely Cup during the final weekend in August. At the Neely Cup’s conclusion, Bowie says that he was asked to stay at camp for an additional four days, to practice with the team and play two exhibition games with the ‘Hawks against Tri-City and Spokane. Bowie recorded an assist in his second game against the Chiefs.
For his first year of Midget hockey, Bowie is set to take to the ice with the Northeast BC/Yukon Trackers this season. After attending training camp with the Winterhawks, Bowie says that helped him to be well-conditioned for Trackers tryouts last week. Though he says that last year in Bantam he was more focused on scoring goals, this year under Trackers head coach David Johnston, he will be working a lot more on protecting the puck, and working on passing the puck and setting up big plays.
Bowie is now the third Fort St. John native set to play in the ‘Dub in recent years, joining Tristen Nielsen and Ralph Jarratt. Like Nielsen, Bowie also plays centre, and says that though he hasn’t played against Nielsen since the two played for Fort St. John and Dawson Creek respectively in Pee Wee, it would be cool to experience facing off next season.