For Prince George Cougar forwards Connor Bowie and Austin Crossley, both from Fort St. John, playing close to home isn’t anything new, but is certainly something they never thought they’d get to do at the WHL level.
The Cougars were in Dawson Creek for their final two pre-season games on September 12 and 14 against the Edmonton Oil Kings, and were the defacto home team, as seemingly the entire crowd was rooting on Bowie and Crossley’s team.
“It was unreal, I never thought I’d play north of Prince George again. Seeing my family and friends at the game, and people I played with and their parents, was surreal,” said Crossley.
In between the two games, Crossley and Bowie skated with kids from North Pine and Bert Ambrose students at the Pomeroy Sports Centre on September 13.
“This has been such a blast, just to see all the kids here in Fort St. John and inspire and skate with them. It’s a great experience, and I’m trying to take it all in and have fun,” Bowie said.
The games themselves could have gone better for the Cougars. Prince George lost 6-1 in the first game, and 2-1 one in the second. The games were reflective of the Cougar’s pre-season as a whole, Bowie said.
“Camp started really great, but the pre-season has been tough. However, we can’t read too much into that and will be ready to go for the regular season,” Bowie said.
Both Bowie and Crossley will have new roles with the Cougars this year. Crossley will play forward instead of defence, while Bowie, a third and fourth-line grinder last season, will get time on the second line this year, as well as the powerplay and penalty kill teams.
“I’m expecting a lot more from myself and our team, I think we have a lot more offensive power, and I’m excited to play more on the powerplay,” said Bowie.
Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at firstname.lastname@example.org.