Future looks bright for Monarchs rearguard

KIRK PENTON, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 11:27 AM ET

If the calculations are correct, a post-game picture taken at the St. James Civic Centre yesterday might be worth something one day.

There was St. Malo native Travis Hamonic, sporting a sling that he picked up at the world junior hockey championship, presenting a defenceman-of-the-game award to Madison Bowey during the Winnipeg AAA Hockey Council's all-star day.

Hamonic was Canada's shutdown defenceman at the world junior in Saskatchewan until a cheap hit from behind ended his tournament in the semifinal round.

Hamonic, who twice participated in the Winnipeg AAA all-star day, was a New York Islanders second-round draft pick in 2008, and his future in pro hockey looks bright.

A few miles back on the hockey development track is Bowey, a 14-year-old offensive defenceman who plays for the powerhouse Winnipeg Monarchs in the Winnipeg AAA Bantam 1 League.

WHL scouts

Bowey is not in Hamonic's neighbourhood yet, but his coach believes he will be one day.

"He's going to be a fabulous player," Monarchs head coach Rob Reimer said. "I've coached Scott Glennie and Cody Eakin, and I'm sure of them going to the NHL, which they will be. This one, I think, has gotta go. He's gotta go.

"I've (coached) 14-year-old teams for probably about 12 years now, and this is probably the best defenceman I've seen out of the group yet."

Bowey put his considerable skills on display yesterday during the Bantam 1 all-star contest, which was watched closely by scouts from nearly every WHL team. This is the WHL draft year for Bantam 1 players, most of whom were born in 1995.

Brandon Wheat Kings regional scout Gary Michalick believes Bowey is one of Manitoba's top prospects going into this year's WHL draft.

He added "there's a chance" Bowey will be a first-round selection.

"He's got great skating ability, good hockey sense, and it looks like he enjoys the game," he said. "It's nice to see kids who look like they enjoy being on the ice and enjoy playing the game. So he's got all those attributes that we look for."

Skating strength is what Michalick looks for in 14-year-old, and Bowey has that. Most kids who are pushing 6-feet tall at age 14 aren't nearly as smooth as Bowey is.

"This year he's actually turning into a man, and he's playing the game like a man," Reimer said.

Bowey's presence has helped the Monarchs start the season with 18 consecutive wins.

He knows this is the year he has to make a mark individually, yet he's just as concerned about the team's play.

"It's not just about me," Bowey said. "I want the team to do well, too, and hopefully we'll be at Westerns and win that."

Bowey has 10 goals and 25 assists in 18 games for the Monarchs, and he has recorded at least one point in every game.

Bowey's stock rose in November at the prestigious Major Bantam Hockey Tournament in Medicine Hat, Alta., where he was named the event's top defenceman.

There were plenty of scouts in attendance, and he was competing against most of the top players from prospect-rich Alberta.

"I've seen all the best in western Canada right now," Reimer said, "and I would rank him number one of all defencemen in western Canada. Everybody else feels that way also.

"He's a very good kid, he's a great leader, and he shows up for every single moment of practice and games. He's gonna go some places."

Bowey comes by his hockey prowess honestly.

His dad, William, was a local star back in the day who had to give up on a WHL tryout with the Calgary Wranglers because his mom fell ill. He did, however, go on play professionally in Europe for a while.

Bowey said his dad, who cooks spaghetti meals for him before every one of his games, is a big reason why he loves hockey as much as he does.

"I love the game," said Bowey, who plans to play AAA midget for the Winnipeg Wild next season. "Ever since I was five, I woke up thinking about hockey all the time. I went outside for outdoor skating, shooting pucks in my basement. I love hockey."

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca\ ---\ MADISON BOWEY

- Sport: hockey

- Team: Winnipeg Monarchs (bantam 1)

- Shoots: right

- Position: defence

- Age: 14

- High school: Shaftesbury

- Height: 6-feet

- Weight: 165 lbs.

- Sports idol: Jarome Iginla

- Fun Fact: Bowey is also a pretty good baseball player, as the pitcher-catcher-centrefielder hit the game-winning home run for the Winnipeg South Chiefs in last summer's city bantam championship game. "We're a really good team," he said. "This year we should probably go to nationals even, or have a good shot at that."


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