At the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, Drayson Bowman was selected by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 3rd round, 72nd overall. Bowman got the invite to the Hurricanes camp in September, where he received a lot of praise from the coaching staff for his skill and poise with the puck. It is not hard to see why the Hurricanes organization is so high on the Spokane Chief.
Bowman is one of the CHL’s best snipers. After his sophomore season last year with 24 goals and 19 assists in 61 games, the 6’1, 185 lb left winger torched the WHL for 42 goals and 40 assists in 66 games this season. He continued his torrid pace in the playoffs, leading the Chiefs with 11 goals and sharing the team lead in points with Ondrej Roman with 20 points in 21 games.
In an amazing two-week stretch in November, Bowman won CHL Player of the Week honors back to back weeks when he amassed 11 goals and five assists in only five games.
Along with his increasing offensive output, Bowman has provided strong leadership for the Chiefs this year. Hockey’s Future spoke with him prior to Spokane winning the Memorial Cup.
HF: What were the highlights of your very successful year?
DB: Winning the WHL Championship was huge and coming here to the Memorial Cup. Playing against so many talented players and teams is great. Playing in this tournament, the intensity is so much higher because the players are so skilled and we only play each team once in the round robin.
HF: Did you think that you would win all three games in the round robin and make it to the finals?
DB: Yes, I knew a little about the other three teams, but felt that we were the best team going in. Our plan was not only to make it to the finals and hopefully win the Memorial Cup but to win every game we played in. We have such a good team that there was no reason to suspect otherwise that we wouldn’t win all three games.
HF: Being that Spokane has had five days off, what has the team done in its downtime?
DB: We went to Toronto to watch the baseball game. We’ve been watching a lot of TV in the hotel, keeping a very close eye on the happenings of the Memorial Cup. We have had regular practices and kept pretty tight as a team, doing pretty much everything together.
HF: When the team came into the Kitchener Auditorium after practice, they were banging sticks, shouting and cheering. That is quite a lot of intensity for a team that has had a lot of time off.
DB: We are having fun on and off the ice. The guys can get pretty rowdy at times and what you just saw is just a taste of the crazy things that go on. We have to keep our edge with the time off from the tournament, while we wait for the final game today.
HF: How have you improved as a player from the start of the year to now?
DB: I have learned to be more patient with the puck. Before I was rushing things around the net and now I have done better at finding the other players around the net or in the slot. I have found that the better play is to dish it off to the open man and then find a way to get open myself afterwards.
HF: Who do you give credit to for your successful hockey career?
DB: My parents, they have been so supportive. My hockey career has moved us all across the continent and I couldn’t ask anything more from them. Moving from Colorado to British Columbia not only gave me a chance to progress my hockey career, but my younger brother as well.
HF: Was there a point in your career when you realized that you would be in the upper tier of players in the WHL?
DB: In my Bantam year I realized that I was pretty good. I was getting told that if I kept working hard then I would be able to reach my full potential. I put in the hard work and those that told me to work hard weren’t wrong.
HF: Is your brother as skilled as you are?
DB: I can say yes, being that Colin is a defenseman (laughs), but if he was a forward then I would say differently.
HF: What do you like to do in your personal down time?
DB: Play video games like all the other guys on the team.
HF: Who is your favorite NHL player?
DB: It’s tough to say, as there as so many good players. I think it would be Eric Staal. I really liked him as a player before I got drafted by Carolina.