The National Hockey League work stoppage has benefited very few people.
Consider Kelowna Rockets defenseman Madison Bowey one of the rare beneficiaries.
Locked out of NHL rinks, Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn has returned to Kelowna to work out, stay in shape and pass on all the wisdom possessed by the fifth overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
The former Rockets alumnus has imparted the experiences of his draft year on Bowey, one of the most highly sought-after blueliners in the 2013 NHL Draft.
“I have a great opportunity with Luke Schenn practicing with us so I take a lot of advice from him and he tells me not to worry about it,” Bowey said. “That’s my mentality. I don’t really focus on it much.”
He must have been mentored well by Schenn, who faced all sorts of scrutiny from scouts nearly five years ago.
“I don’t really think about it at all,” he claimed.
Schenn played with the Rockets from 2005-08 under current Kelowna coach Ryan Huska. So did Tyler Myers, selected 12th overall in 2008 by the Buffalo Sabres. Bowey is hoping to be the next blueliner to make a big impact in the NHL.
If he does, the six-foot-one, 195-pound defenseman knows the credit goes to the coaching staff that has produced more blue chip defensemen than any other junior club in recent memory.
“(Huska) and Dan Lambert have been great for me,” Bowey said. “They’ve really told me to settle down in my d-zone and also provide offense. They’ve really taught me to work hard in my d-zone first.”
And if Bowey takes care of his own zone first, the 2013 NHL Draft will certainly take care of him.
It’s your second year in the WHL, does it feel any different out there on the ice?
I’m a lot more comfortable. I’ve been through the ropes. I’ve had a lot of vets that showed me the ropes and now in my second year I’m a lot more comfortable and can play my game more.
You represented Canada at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial. How was the Hlinka experience?
It was an unreal experience to wear that Leaf on your chest there. Any time you can represent the country it’s a great honour. I had a great time there. It was just awesome.
What do you feel are your strengths on the ice?
I think my skating ability is my strength, and also my hockey IQ.
If there is anything you’d like to improve what would that be?
That would be in my d-zone. I’m studying my d-zone every day and every night.
Which player or players do you look up to or compare yourself to?
Probably the Drew Doughty-type player. I’ve watched him for the last three, four years there and he can really go. That’s what I model my game after.
With files from Zenon Herasymiuk