A pair of Prince George Cougars are looking to take a bite out of the BC Hockey League.
Thanks to the temporary player transfer agreement between the Western Hockey League and junior A, junior B, and U18 levels, Connor Bowie and Aiden Reeves find themselves with the Prince George Spruce Kings.
Bowie, a lanky multi-dimensional forward with the Cougars, is looking to take his game up another notch in the BCHL.
The 19-year-old product of Fort St. John, BC put up career highs in the WHL last season with 12 goals and 11 assists in 62 games. To be frank, Bowie said the transition between leagues has been seamless.
“I’m just really happy to be playing and for a great organization like the Spruce Kings. I was really happy to play, and it (has) turned out pretty great. I’m kind of here under training circumstances so I am hoping to sharpen up my skills and get prepared, getting my hands and feet ready so (they’re) up to speed for the season.”
Bowie adds that Spruce Kings head coach Alex Evin has a pretty clear game plan for him to execute until departing for WHL training camp on December 20th.
“He really just wants me to add offensively and be a leader for the younger guys. Show them the kind of experience that I have and help the team out in the meantime. As soon as the rule came out, Alex gave me a call, we figured things out, and got going.”
NEWS | The Spruce Kings have added F Connor Bowie ('01) and D Aiden Reeves ('02) to the roster on loan from the @PGCougars.
— Prince George Spruce Kings (@SpruceKings) October 27, 2020
There was a specific part of his game that Bowie hoped to refine during the off-season and it’s paid dividends to this point.
“I really worked on faceoffs over the summer as that is something I want to bring to the Cougars so I thought I would work on it a lot and it has turned out pretty well so far.”
A Familiar Face
While Bowie is putting on Spruce King colours for the very first time, the same can’t be said for Reeves.
The 18-year-old blueliner from Prince George completed the trifecta last season suiting up for each of the local-based programs.
He began the year the Under-18 Cariboo Cougars where he amassed 15 points in 20 games.
During that stretch, Reeves was called up by the Spruce Kings as an affiliate player for eight games to fill in during an injury-ravaged 2019-20 campaign for the team.
After the WHL trade deadline came and went in January, Reeves was called up for the rest of the season by the Cats. He suited up in 12 games and recorded one assist in limited action.
“I have lots of pride for Prince George, it’s a hockey city and it’s an honour to represent all three teams. It’s something not a lot of people are able to do and I’m proud to accomplish that.”
In addition, Reeves spoke glowingly on his early impressions of this year’s version of the Spruce Kings.
“I was really shocked by how good the team is looking already. Me and Bowie are like, ‘Wow!’ This is going to help us a lot, so it’s been really good. I am happy to get back out onto the ice and keep working. I knew I wanted to go to the BCHL (when the agreement was announced). I wasn’t sure which teams were going to take me at first but I am super happy to stay home and be with the (Spruce) Kings.”
Getting a head start
Reeves is one of the younger players on the Cougars back end heading into the season, so the extended ice time with the Spruce Kings should prove advantageous.
“It’s going to be everything. We are going to be coming into camp already playing seven or more games, our cardio is going to be good to go. We won’t have to fine-tune things as much and we will be coming in with a hot start.”
“Alex runs a very systematic team so it was nice I was able to come in last year and learn some of it but I have more to learn as there is always more to learn with him. It’s been really good and I enjoy playing for him.”