Before I start, I’m going to offer an apology to Cardiff Devils fans and the organisation because I don’t think Ben Bowns will be wearing your red jersey next season.
We’re only two games into the World Championships and the GB netminder’s performances have been catching the eye as the world wakes up to what we already know.
Bowns’ reputation has been growing in the last couple of years, particularly in the Champions Hockey League for the Devils and now he’s been elevated into the world stage, it’s getting more and more people’s attention.
These championships are a shop window for a lot of players, particularly in the European leagues, who perhaps dream that there’s a representative of an NHL team out there looking to snap them up.
— Steven Ellis (@StevenEllisTHN) May 12, 2019
Now, before you jump on my previous sentence, I’m not saying or suggesting this is where Bowns is destined to go. Not at all, but this is the sort of event where a team from ‘the big show’ may be looking.
GB’s performances in defeat have been well received also. They know they’re in the biggest and challenge of their careers, but they’re giving it their all and Bownsy is more than playing his part.
In the championships so far, Bowns has faced 86 shots in two games, 30 more than the next goalie to have played in two games, Norway’s Henrik Haukeland (the two Italian goalies have played a game apiece and have faced 61 and 58 respectively).
Bowns has made 75 saves, an 87.21% save percentage and statistically is far from the worst goalie at this tournament.
But the saves he is making are being made in GIFs and being shown on the highlights reels, which is gaining the attention of those outwit these shores.
You only have to think back to last month when Bowns helped backstop Cardiff to second straight play-off title at the expense of Grand Slam chasing Belfast Giants.
This column makes no apology for speaking of Bowns in these terms, but these championships are confirming what we already know about him. He’s world class.
As much as I’m loathe to even mention it, I’m still dumbfounded there were (a very small) contingent of Devils fans that wanted him to leave their club last season. Watch these last couple of games and tell us differently.
Ben Bowns, the @TeamGBicehockey goalie just had himself a period, making 20 saves in the first period. A few @officialEIHL teams have seen this act before. Good on Bowns replicating it on one of international game's biggest stages https://t.co/CY04TQmJ0y
— Shawn Roarke (@sroarke_nhl) May 12, 2019
Guys like Bowns are priceless in this sport and while I, for one, would hate to see the Elite League robbed of his talents, I would love to see him earn a big move somewhere in Europe or North America as a reward for his efforts in the last five years.
What’s the worst that could happen. He goes somewhere and it doesn’t work out. He’ll have a host of teams keen to bring him back if that was the case. However, I don’t believe that would be the case.
His performances in Slovakia may have Andrew Lord and Todd Kelman looking through their contacts for a possible replacement, but that must surely be looked upon as a great thing for the work that’s been done with him while in Wales.
For now. let’s enjoy what Bowns is doing for this GB team right now and see how the rest of his summer pans out.