Bowles a good fit for Kelowna Chiefs
Barring any surprise developments next year, this will most likely be Jagger Bowles' last season of organized hockey.
The 20-year-old forward can't think of a much better scenario than closing out his career with his hometown Kelowna Chiefs.
"It's really been a great experience since I came here last season," said Bowles, who plans on pursuing an education next year at SAIT in Calgary. "I've made a lot of friends since I've been here, I'm here with my family, and it's really a good team to be a part of. Things have worked out kind of like I hoped they would."
Bowles moved to Kelowna from Calgary with his family more than two years ago, but during his first season in B.C., he played with the rival Sicamous Eagles of the KIJHL.
When Ken Andrusiak watched Bowles perform against his Chiefs in the 2011-12 playoffs, the Kelowna head coach knew the 6-foot-1, 175-pound forward had some special talents to offer.
Bowles suffered a broken hand early last season, but that didn't deter Andrusiak acquiring him from the Eagles in November 2012.
"When we played against him we were really impressed with him," Andrusiak said of Bowles. "Even with the injury he had last year, our thinking was that he'd be a key older guy for us this year…and it's turned out that way.
"He's one of those forwards who is a good set-up guy," added Andrusiak, "he hangs on to the puck and he sees the ice very well. He's been a really good offensive player for us."
Despite missing the Chiefs last three games with an injury, Bowles is second in team scoring this season with 22 goals and 52 points in 30 games.
As one of four 20-year-old players, he's also looked to for leadership by the Chiefs.
"As an older guy, he's just more mature, both physically and mentally," Andrusiak said. "With so many young guys (10 rookies) you have to have guys like him with experience. When things don't go well, it's like water off his back. You need guys like that and he gives us both leadership and experience."
Bowles, whose younger brother Parker plays with the WHL's Tri City Americans, rates the Chiefs as one of the better teams he's played on in all his years on the ice.
Not surprisingly, Bowles would prefer to end his days in Kelowna colours with a title to his credit.
"Of course, I'd love to win a championship," Bowles said. "I think we have the team and the talent to do it, it's just a matter of everybody getting on the same page and working towards that goal."
Among other perks of being a Chief, according to Bowles, is the growing fan support and the team's presence in the community.
"I think this team does more community service and volunteer work than I've ever seen, so it's nice to be part of that, too," he said.
While Bowles doesn't expect to return to the lineup until after Christmas, his Chiefs will play two more games before then—Friday in Princeton and Saturday in Summerland.