For the most part, the questions asked of Madison Bowey during the interview process at last week’s NHL Combine in Toronto were relatively straightforward.
There was, however, a query from the Boston Bruins that forced the Kelowna Rockets defenceman to think just a little outside the box.
“The Bruins asked me what my favourite animal was, so that was a little different than the others,” Bowey said with a laugh. “But right away, I said ‘a bear’. I was all over that one, so I think that (interview) went pretty well.”
One of three Rockets players invited to the combine, Bowey garnered his share of attention in Toronto, as 25 of the 30 NHL teams quizzed the 18-year-old Winnipeg native on a range of subjects, including the parts of his game he most needs to work on, and what he will bring to each team.
For the majority of the interviews, Bowey felt he kept his nerves in check.
“I talked to (Colton) Sissons and my agent about (the interviews), so I kind of knew what to expect,” Bowey said. “I’m an easygoing and energetic person, so I think that made (the process) a little easier. It was a great experience.”
Based on the overall response in Toronto, his agent, Craig Oster, expects Bowey to be selected anywhere between 10th and 35th overall at the NHL entry draft later this month in New Jersey.
Oster also told Bowey that about five or six teams stand out above the rest as far as serious contenders who might choose the skilled 6-foot-1, 200-pound defenceman.
“I had a similar number of interviews as a lot of the top-rated guys, so I’d say that’s a good sign,” said Bowey, who had 12 goals and 30 points in 69 games with the Rockets last season. “I felt like the interest was pretty high. We’ll know more when we get to the draft and we’ll probably talk to some teams again there.”
Bowey isn’t hiding the fact that being chosen 13th overall—by his hometown Winnipeg Jets—would be a most welcome scenario. Still, he added, simply being drafted by any one of 30 NHL teams will be the highlight of his career to date.
In addition to the interview process, the second component of the annual NHL combine is fitness testing. However, an injured finger prevented Bowey from taking part.
Rockets’ forward Myles Bell and defenceman Mitchell Wheaton also attended the combine, which annually features 100 of the world’s top draft-eligible players.
Also making the trip to Toronto last week was West Kelowna Warriors’ forward David Pope.
The NHL entry draft will be held June 30 in Newark, New Jersey.