Interviews and fitness testing are on the agenda for three members of the Kelowna Rockets next week in Toronto.
Madison Bowey, Myles Bell and Mitchell Wheaton are among 101 of the world’s top draft-eligible players who have earned invitations to the NHL’s annual scouting combine, which begins on Tuesday.
The 30 NHL teams will have an opportunity to scrutinize and evaluate the prospective talent through three days of interviews, followed by fitness testing next Friday and Saturday.
Bowey is ranked 32nd overall among North American skaters by Central Scouting, Bell is 46th, while Wheaton is listed in the 69th position.
Bell, who was passed over in last year’s draft as an 18-year-old, is happy to be getting a second chance.
The Calgary native, who switched from defence to forward early in the season, led the Rockets in scoring with 38 goals and 93 points.
“It’s a good feeling,” Bell said of the combine invitation. “It’s a bit unique to be going in as an over-age prospect. A lot of it is because of my move to forward and the success I had there, and I have the Rockets to thank for that. I’m pretty happy to be going to the combine.”
Bell has been diligently working out on a daily basis in Kelowna and feels his conditioning should be up to standard for the fitness portion of the combine.
As for the interview process, which can be an intimidating concept for young players, the 6-foot, 210-pound forward simply plans to go in with an open mind.
“I think you just have to go in expecting anything,” Bell said. “You hear stories about some strange questions and strange things happening, but you can’t control that. I’m just going to try and relax and take it as it comes.”
Bowey, one of the WHL’s top young defencemen in 2012-13, helped Canada to a gold medal last month at the world U18 championship. The Winnipeg native had 12 goals and 30 points in 69 games.
Wheaton, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound defenceman from Sherwood Park, missed the last two months of the regular season with a shoulder injury but returned for four games in the playoffs.
Wheaton had a goal and eight points in 39 games.
Top-rated skaters Seth Jones, Nathan MacKinnon, Aleksandr Barkov, Jonathan Drouin and Valeri Nichushkin are also expected at the combine.
The NHL draft will be held Saturday, June 30 in Newark, New Jersey.
Warriors’ Pope to combine
West Kelowna Warriors’ forward David Pope is one of two BCHL players who will attend the combine next week.
Ranked 67th among North American skaters by Central Scouting, Pope scored 17 goals and had 39 points in 42 games with the Warriors in 2012-13.
The 6-foot-2 Edmonton native has committed to Nebraska-Omaha (NCAA Div. 1) for the 2014-15 season.