Kelowna's Madison Bowey (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
The Kelowna Rockets defenseman is part of a Western League juggernaut with a great shot at the championship. But first, the Washington Capitals prospect will attempt to win gold at the world juniors.
The Western League's Kelowna Rockets have been one big bucket of feel-good stories this season. The franchise is the No. 2 team in the entire CHL thanks to a 28-5-3 record, with only the Ontario League's Oshawa Generals ahead of them. And just before players left for the world juniors, Kelowna added returning Canada WJC defenseman Josh Morrissey to a blueline that already featured Washington Capitals blueline prospect Madison Bowey.
The two players will be key members of that Canadian world junior squad and are getting a nice chance to reacquaint before Morrissey officially dons a Rockets jersey after the holidays.
“Leading up to it, we were pretty good buddies," Bowey said. "We played on the same Canada teams in previous years and we’re definitely hoping we get to play with each other. It will be huge for our team to get a top-end defenseman like that.”
Morrissey is a first-round pick of the Winnipeg Jets and already has pro experience thanks to a stint with the American League's St. John's IceCaps last season. The idea of him and Bowey on a pairing should strike terror in the hearts of both WHL opponents and potentially Memorial Cup foes.
“He’s a great two-way defenseman," Bowey said. "He can put up good numbers and he’s an exciting player to watch.”
Bowey himself is pretty good, too. An excellent skater who also plays a two-way game, his 33 points through 28 games makes him one of the highest-scoring defensemen in the league and he was also awarded the captaincy of the Rockets. Kelowna has a veteran corps and the team's top D-man loves the situation they're in right now.
“Being the captain, I feel we have a special group," Bowey said. "We really are a band of brothers, which is huge for every hockey team. It’s been great to have the success we’ve had so far and we just have to keep it going in the second half.”
But before he can do that, Bowey will attempt to win a gold medal for Canada at the world juniors on home ice. With Ottawa's Curtis Lazar joining an already stacked forward corps and the blueline filled with big, mobile players, there is really no excuse for Canada not to at least play for gold after three straight years on the sidelines.
Once back in the 'Dub,' the focus will shift to a league title. It's been mostly an Edmonton and Portland affair lately, but the Rockets have everything headed in the right direction. The Memorial Cup is never an easy win, but Kelowna does have the makeup right now to contend.
If everything breaks the right way, Bowey may end this season with two huge accomplishments.