Shane Bowers scored during his first appearance for the Waterloo Black Hawks; solid performances in 130 subsequent regular season and playoff games which followed over the next two years helped to make him one of the top draft picks during the 2017 National Hockey League Draft on Friday in Chicago.
Bowers was selected by the Ottawa Senators with the 28th pick during the first round. He becomes the third Waterloo skater ever to be chosen during the opening round, joining Brock Boeser in 2015 (Vancouver Canucks, 23rd overall) and Peter Ferraro in 1992 (New York Rangers, 24th overall). Waterloo has now had five players drafted during the first or second round since 2013.
“Shane has had to put this day out of his mind for a long time, so I am thrilled that he has the opportunity to enjoy it now that it is here,” said Waterloo Black Hawks Head Coach P.K. O’Handley. “Even when he first came to Waterloo as a young 16-year-old, Shane was mature beyond his years, and he has been a great representative of our organization since Day One.”
Last season, Bowers was the only Black Hawk to appear in every game. He recorded 22 goals and 29 assists in 60 regular season contests to tie for the team lead in scoring. Five of his goals proved to be game-winners. The effort built on a rookie season in 2015/16 which had included 15 goals and 18 assists in 56 games.
NHL Central Scouting ranked Bowers 16th among North American prospects in their final rankings issued in April. In addition to his efforts for Waterloo, Bowers represented Canada in the highly-scouted Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament last August and skated during the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Sioux Falls. The native of Nova Scotia is committed to play for the Boston University Terriers in 2017/18.
The Senators were one of six NHL teams which had never previously drafted a Black Hawk prior to this season. However, Waterloo alum John Gruden did play briefly for Ottawa in 1999/2000.
Several of Bowers’ Waterloo teammates are also draft candidates. Selections in rounds two through seven will be made on Saturday. A total of 217 prospects will be chosen by the league’s 31 teams. The 2017 NHL Draft is being hosted by the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center.