The Bison men’s hockey team is about to embark on another Canada West regular season in 2016-17 and announces three more new recruits. Bison men’s hockey head coach Mike Sirant, into his 21st season at the helm of Manitoba, is pleased to announce the commitment of forwards Brad Bowles and Shawn Bowles plus defenceman Garrett Johnston to the Bison program for the upcoming 2016-17 season.
“We are thrilled to announce these major signings of Brad Bowles, Shawn Bowles and Garrett Johnston and welcome them to the Bisons,” said Sirant. “Brad and Shawn are dominant players and proven winners having lead the Portage Terriers to consecutive MJHL Championships and a RBC Cup National Championship. They are complete players who can make plays and score, are relentless defensively, and play with an edge. What impresses me most about both is their passion, how hard they compete and that they never take a shift off. They will make a big impact in the Canada West conference.”
Brad Bowles, 21, played four seasons (2012-16) with the Portage Terriers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL). In 2015-16, the 6’2”, 189 lbs. forward and team captain led the MJHL in scoring during the regular season with 102 points (45 goals, 57 assists) while playing all 60 league games and led playoff scoring with 24 points (7g, 17a). The Elkhorn, MB native has an extensive resume while being part of Terriers’ MJHL Championships (2014-15, 2015-16) and the RBC Cup National Championship in 2015. Bowles was 2015-16 MJHL MVP; MJHL First All-Star Team (2014-15, 2015-16); Western Canada Cup Tournament All-Star (2015, 2016); RBC Cup Tournament Top Scorer (2015); RBC Cup Tournament Top Forward (2015); RBC Cup Tournament MVP (2015); Canadian Junior Hockey League Western All-Star Team (2016); Western Canada Cup Tournament MVP (2016); Calgary Flames, NHL Prospect Development Camp, July 2016.
Shawn Bowles, 21, played four seasons (2012-16) with the Portage Terriers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL). In 2015-16, the 6’2”, 187 lbs. forward and assistant captain finished tied for eighth in MJHL in scoring during the regular season with 65 points (19 goals, 46 assists) in 39 league games (tied with brother Brad for most points per game average at 1.7) and tied for sixth in playoff scoring with 14 points (8g, 6a). The Elkhorn, MB native has collected numerous honours in his hockey career including MJHL RBC Player of the Month (February 2016); Star of the Day at 2015 RBC Cup (Sunday, May 17); MJHL Player of the Week (January 2016); Terriers’ team award for Award of Commitment and Dedication (2015-16 with his brother Brad); Terriers’ team award for MVP (2015-16 with his brother Brad); fifth in MJHL regular season scoring with 64 points (25g, 39a) and tied for fourth in playoff scoring with 15 points (8g, 7a) in 2014-15.
Johnston, 21, split the 2015-16 season with teams of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). In 2015-16, the 6’0”, 190 lbs. defenceman played at Chicoutimi Sagueneens and notched 16 points (6g, 10a) and then finished with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan with 15 points (1g, 14a). The Winnipeg native had played two previous years with Moncton in 2013-14 (59gp: 6g, 17a=23pts) and 2014-15 (65gp; 2g, 14a+16pts) plus started with MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders (2011-13) prior to his QMJHL career.
Sirant stated about Johnston, “Garrett is a tremendous person and player who brings a lot of Major Junior hockey experience, and his strengths fit the Bison’s fast, high pressure, puck possession game. Garrett is a great skater, has excellent puck skills, is smart and has good vision on the ice so he has the ability to make plays and produce offense, and he is solid defensively. We expect him to play an important role on our blueline this season.”
Quotes from recruits
Brad Bowles: “I’m excited to be a part of the Bisons and I think we are going to have a successful year. I’m definitely ready to get the season going and start working towards a championship.”
Shawn Bowles: “I’m really excited to play for the Bisons and just anxious to get the season started.”
Garrett Johnston: “I chose the U of M Bisons because I wanted to stay home and earn a degree and Manitoba offers a great education and elite hockey program. This upcoming season will be a new learning experience for me as a first year player in the Canada West conference and I’m looking forward to the challenge. From what I’ve seen so far, I believe the Bisons could really do something special this year and the years to come. I aim to grow as a player and hopefully, help the team both offensively and defensively by giving 110% effort every day.”