A Yorkshire lad born and bred, Ben Bowns is proof that hard work and dedication to your craft can seriously pay off.
The 25 year old netminder for the EIHL’s top team, the Cardiff Devils has many accomplishments in his career so far. Bowns first played for Great Britain when he was 17 as part of the U-18 squad and has now progressed up the ranks and into the starting position in the recent Olympic qualifier run in Cortina, Italy.
I caught up with him after the Devil’s recent 4-3 win over the Sheffield Steelers at Sheffield Arena. Everyone was piling onto the bus but he was kind enough to take a few minutes to chat to Beth and I.
What’s it like being away from the Devil’s mid season?
Obviously at the end of the year you’ve had that last little push and you can focus fully on GB and obviously you’re trying to do that in Cortina, you’ve got to but you’re still in between all the games got one mind back on Cardiff. You’re still watching all the scores coming up in the league and stuff like that. Braehead played their games in hand so we had that obviously when we got back to the hotel. It’s weird, going away from your team mid-season. It’s the first time I’ve really done it. Last time I didn’t have to play because [Stephen] Murphy played all the games, we [Cardiff] weren’t challenging for the league either, so it’s been a learning curve for me. It’s definitely something that I have learned from hopefully for the next time.
What was it like taking on the hosts Italy?
It was alright. I felt that we matched them five on five and we were even better to be honest, we just took too many penalties and gave them too much respect in that first period and it felt like every single deflection and bounce when in the back of our net and when we deflected the puck. Their goalie, there was one that went straight between his legs and out the other side and there was another one that he didn’t even see and it hit his toe and everything that got deflected in front of me went in. It was frustrating. I had to be a lot better than I was. It was just, every little bounce went against us. When you’re at that level and playing a team like that, you need everything to go your way as well.
It’s a great experience though to be able to get to that level and to play teams like you have been doing.
Yeah, it’s different. Obviously I think it’s frustrating. My first year up at the Seniors, when Thommo [Paul Thompson] was last years coach we were seven minutes off going up to the next round. Then Thommo stepped down and was replaced. I think we’re still trying to regain all of that from those two years.
How much time as a team did you get, prior to the games, to really pull it all together as a group?
Obviously, for the Olympics we didn’t get much time at all. We had two training sessions in Coventry then we flew out and had a training session in Cortina before playing the Netherlands. I know Italy were training for a full week at altitude and that’s the other thing out there, it’s higher and you’re battling those elements. I think it took guys, especially with the travel day, a day or two to really get used to it and get a feel for your legs and everything. For the World’s we usually get about two weeks. We do a two week training camp before. Last year we only had a week though because the World’s were a week earlier and I think this year we’re back to two weeks, so hopefully we’ll be alright this year.
Thank you to Ben for taking the time out to chat with us on Saturday! And look out for our Behind The Mask features which will give you a peek behind the masks of the EIHL’s main netminders.