• Homer junior scores three goals at National Hockey Championships
By Sean Pearson
Mariner junior Tommy Bowe may not know exactly what his future in sports will look like after high school, but he’s pretty clear on his feelings about hockey.
“My favorite part of hockey is all of it,” Bowe said. “When you love something so much, you don’t love one certain thing about it. You feel blessed just to be allowed to play it each day.”
That’s why he always says a short prayer during the national anthem before each game; just to be thankful.
Bowe fell in love with the ice when he was two years old and his dad would take him out on Beluga Lake and whip him around the ice on a sled. He strapped on his first pair of skates at age four.
“My dad and Kevin Bell were the ones who really got me into hockey,” Bowe said. “The second game I played, I scored five goals. I thought it was pretty easy.”
Bowe said he never really thought of himself as “good.” He figured he just got more chances to score than everyone else.
He’s still getting plenty of those scoring chances these days, as he continues to rack up goals around Alaska youth hockey leagues.
Last weekend, Bowe traveled with the Under-16 Kenai Ice Hawks to compete in the Tier II National Hockey Championships in Troy, Mich.
After winning three games in round-robin play, Bowe and his team lost 2-6 in Saturday’s semifinals to the Greensboro Stars from North Carolina. The Stars would go on to take the national title.
Bowe scored three goals and grabbed seven assists during tournament play.
“I feel like I could have done better, but the puck just didn’t bounce the right way,” he said. “It wasn’t a good time to have a crappy game, but it was still a great trip, overall.”
Bowe said he was happy that his team went into the tournament ranked last, and ended up finishing much higher.
“I believe we had the best offense in the tournament,” he said. “We just didn’t play a good enough defensive game to give our offense chances to score.”
This was Bowe’s first year playing with the Kenai team.
“I was asked, along with a few other kids from Homer, to be a part of the Kenai program,” he explained. “I was the only one who followed through with it.”
Bowe frequently traveled the 150 miles round-trip to practice with his Ice Hawk teammates; most of whom are Kenai Kardinals when it comes to high school competition. School rivalries are put aside, however, when the team gets together for practice and games.
“I didn’t get to practice nearly enough with the team, but I tried to make the most of my time when I did get there,” Bowe said. “I think we had a much stronger core of players on our Mariner high school team; probably because we all have such a long history of playing together.”
Following the team’s short visit and photo op with the Stanley Cup, Ice Hawks Head Coach Vaughn Dosko surprised his team with tickets to a live NHL game between the Detroit Red Wings and St. Louis Blues.
“That was super fun,” Bowe said, referring to the professional game as the best part of the trip. “We sat right on the glass and got on TV quite a bit.”
And the worst part of the trip?
“Definitely the tedious travel,” he said.
Bowe’s favorite professional team in the NHL is the Pittsburgh Penguins, as his mother is originally from the Pittsburgh area.
“My favorite player would have to be Evgeni Malkin,” Bowe said. “He’s amazing in that he is so big and so highly physical, but is still an exceptional stick-handler and shooter. He’s probably the best all-around player in the NHL.”
When Bowe is not out on the ice playing hockey, he keeps plenty busy with other activities. This year, he also played varsity football and basketball, and is currently on the Mariner baseball team. When asked which sport he would choose to play professionally, (if he was good enough), Bowe struggled to come up with an answer.
“I think it would probably be hockey — or maybe baseball,” he waffled. “It’s hard. I don’t know; probably baseball, because I would have a better chance of playing longer.”
And, with baseball, you usually get to keep all your teeth.
While it can be difficult to get Bowe to slow down at any given time, he will admit to having a few hobbies.
“I really like fishing and making movies, and I like to hangout with friends,” he said. “I also find ways to work out and strengthen certain skills. I stick-handle around the house a lot and juggle soccer balls.”
So much for relaxing hobbies.
As Bowe’s high school sports career winds down toward his final senior year of competition, he looks to keep his future athletic options open.
“I’m thinking about playing junior hockey this year, and have tendered with one team already,” he said. “I’m also hoping to make the camps for the Kenai Brown Bears and a few other teams in the Lower 48.”
If all else fails, maybe Bowe can fall back on some other, more obscure talents.
“I have all kinds of pieces of broken hockey sticks,” he explained. “I save them in case I decide to do a hockey art project.”
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