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Bowman Waits for the Call

June 20, 2007 - Western Hockey League (WHL) - Spokane Chiefs News Release

In junior hockey you can go from being the rookie to the wily old veteran in a hurry. For Drayson Bowman, it is hard to think it was two short seasons ago when he broke into the league as a 16-year-old. His numbers since will tell you it didn't take long for him to break through the learning curve that a youngster would normally go through.

"I can't believe how fast it has gone. But time flies when you're having fun," he laughed

Bowman hopes the experience he has gained, coupled with his deft scoring touch, will translate into his name being called in this weekend's NHL Entry Draft.

Back in his bantam days, the Chiefs knew what the NHL would soon find out, "His offensive ability is what makes him stand out," Chiefs General Manager Tim Speltz said. "He's got a special, special touch with the puck, especially around the net. He was as good a scorer as we've seen in bantam hockey."

The Chiefs used their first round selection (eighth overall) in the 2004 WHL Bantam Draft to select the forward from Littleton, Colorado. This past year, his second in the WHL, Bowman scored 24 goals, better than the 17 he tallied in 2005-06 as a rookie. Bowman played in all 72 games that season and was named the Chiefs Rookie of the Year. In 61 games this year, Bowman scored 43 points.

Bowman has been on the NHL's radar since the start of the season appearing on the Central Scouting Bureau's (CSB) preliminary ranking, ninth for WHL skaters, in November. Following an invite to the Top Prospect game, an event reserved for 40 of the top draft eligible players in the Canadian Hockey League, Bowman was ranked 44th by the CSB for North American skaters.

An injured wrist forced Bowman out of the lineup for 10 games in February and March. He returned for the final five games of the regular season and recorded a point-a-game with three goals and two assists. His strong comeback and steady performance in the playoffs, a team leading six points in six games in a first round loss to Everett, saw Bowman move up the rankings eight spots to 36th.

"For me, he's a very competitive, very intelligent player and he's gotten better each segment of his career and we believe he's on his way to being a star player in this league," Speltz said. "I think we've only seen the tip of what we will see out of Drayson before his junior career is over.

Recognition earned him an opportunity at the NHL's Draft Combine earlier this spring, an experience that dictated his summer regimen, "Right when our season ended I left two or three days later and started working out rather than taking time off. The main focus was getting prepared for the combine. Now, I'm taking a couple of weeks off. Normally, there is a long training season but this year is going to be broken into two training groups over the summer."

The preparation, or the "nine months that I've had to make it happen", for this weekend's draft has allowed him to wait for fate to intervene. "I can't day anything to change it now, I've just got to sit back and let things take care of itself. (Waiting) is not the best feeling that I've experienced."

The NHL Entry Draft will take place in Columbus, Ohio with the first round Friday, June 22nd and rounds two through seven on Saturday.

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