If this year’s Canadian World Junior hockey team is going to have a Kelowna Rockets flavour, this week’s games between Team WHL and Team Russia, to close out the annual Subway Super Series, will likely be a key factor for two members of the Rockets.
Team captain Madison Bowey as well as fellow defenceman Damon Severson will both suit up in two games this week for Team WHL, as the WHL all-stars meet Team Russia twice: In Red Deer on Wednesday night and in Lethbridge on Thursday.
The Super Series, in its seventh year, pits all star teams from the three Canadian Hockey League’s (WHL, OHL, QMJHL) against Russia and both teams use the six game series as a warm-up for the World Junior Tournament, this year taking place in Malmo, Sweden.
Team QMJHL beat Russia twice to open the series while Russia bounced back and beat Team OHL 5-2 late last week. Russia played the OHL again Monday before the series switches to the west.
For Severson, who took part in the World Junior summer camp, taking part in the Super Series is another chance to show Team Canada officials he is ready for the opportunity.
“I just want to make myself known out there, play solid in my own end and when there is an opportunity to create offense, jump on it,” said Severson, a second round draft pick of the New Jersey Devils in 2012. “I want to have a lot of fun and make a great impression on the Hockey Canada staff.”
Severson, 19, was on the Hockey Canada radar in what will likely be his final year of junior hockey. The Melville, SK native nearly made the Devils out of training camp and has six goals and 14 assists in 20 games with the Rockets since returning.
Bowey meanwhile, has played himself into a shot to impress Hockey Canada, with a stellar first quarter of the Western Hockey League season.
The 18-year-old Washington Capitals draft pick this summer was named captain of the Rockets 13 games into the WHL season and has taken off since putting the C on.
Bowey’s 11 goals leads the Rockets and his 23 points is tied for the team lead in scoring. At 18, he may be a longshot to make Team Canada in what is traditionally a tournament for 19-year-old players, but the Winnipeg native says he will do whatever he can to show he belongs.
“I’m just excited to get the opportunity to play in both games,” said Bowey. “I want to show Hockey Canada staff that I’m good enough to get a chance to play on the team. I just have to play a steady game and not try to do too much out there.”
With Bowey and Severson playing Wednesday and Thursday nights, they are also expected to be available on Friday as the Rockets start a two game weekend series with the Kamloops Blazers in Kamloops.
The Rockets and Kamloops will also play Saturday night in Kelowna.
The Rockets are coming off a 4-1 win over Tri-City on Saturday night and have won 10 of its past 11 games. Kamloops will enter the weekend having dropped eight straight games.