Graz 99ers coach Doug Mason admits he would be happy to help his new netminder Ben Bowns on to another move if he impresses in Austria.
The former Cardiff Devils goalie is off to build a new chapter in an excellent career after agreeing to join the Bet-at-Home League side.
And his new boss, Mason, reckons he can go far if he impresses with his new team when the season begins in late September.
“The sky’s the limit for Ben,” Mason told British Ice Hockey. “If he proves he can be a top goalie in this league, then who knows where that could take him from there.
“I’d be more than willing to help him move on and that’s something I like to do with all my players and if it comes an opportunity to help him achieve that, I’ll certainly assist him.
“Ben’s proven to me he can play at all levels, but I’m not going to insult the UK league and say this is a step up. All players need new challenges and he’s played at Cardiff for a long time so this is something new for him.”
Bowns ended his six-year stay in South Wales last week to move to Graz against whom he played in the Champions Hockey League last season.
Mason revealed he’s been keeping an eye on Bowns for some time after seeing him at close quarters when he was coach of the Netherlands national team.
And he was pleased he called at the right time to try and bring the GB international to the Merkur Eisstadion.
Welcome to Graz – BEN BOWNS 😎 pic.twitter.com/PFwlmXwY2l
— Graz99ers (@graz99ers) August 15, 2020
He added: “I’ve known Ben for a few years and coached against him when I was with the Dutch national team and watched him at the World Championships in Belfast.
“I’ve seen him in with the big boys in the Worlds as well and I’ve always had the thought he’s a very talented goalie so I decided this would be a good opportunity to bring him to Graz.
“He’s always someone who seems to get the job done and we were looking for someone to help with the young goalie coming up as well. It’s a good fit for us and hopefully it will be a good fit for him as well.
“He also made a good impression on us in the Champions Hockey League last year when we played against Cardiff and they got the two victories against us.
“I called at the right time and we talked. From there, I think it was an easy decision.”