Hopefully by 8 PM or so tonight, Bowen Byram will finally be able to stop and smell the roses.
The Vancouver Giants defenceman is unanimously considered to be the top defenceman prospect for the 2019 NHL Draft which takes place tonight and tomorrow at Rogers Arena in Vancouver beginning at 5:00 PM. With that ‘top prospect’ role comes hoards of pressure, media requests and travel. Lots of travel. Within the past month, Byram has been to Halifax, Buffalo, St. Louis, Cranbrook and now Vancouver. Before the start of the 2019-20 season, Byram has at least two more future destinations: Plymouth, MI for Hockey Canada’s National Team Summer Development Camp in late July, and a trip to whichever city happens to select him later on this evening. If there was fatigue or frustration setting in, you’d never know it. Byram’s easy-going “one of the guys” type demeanour was on full display yesterday during an afternoon media availability session with some of his fellow top prospects.
“I think it’s hard to realize what you’re going through at the time. But in a couple of days I’ll be able to sit back and look at the experiences from the past year and appreciate all of it. I’m so excited for the draft this weekend,” said Byram during his media scrum.
Leading into the weekend, Byram has received no shortage of support from the Vancouver Giants, his family, friends and teammates. He will have no shortage of supporters watching intently tonight as the NHL Draft unfolds.
“I’ve got a lot of close friends on the team. I feel really supported by my teammates and my friends and family so I’m very grateful for that,” added Byram.
After a historical season that saw him set a new single-season team record for goals by a defenceman (26), a single-season league record for overtime goals (6), he led the WHL playoffs in scoring with 26 points. You guessed it. No other defenceman in the history of the WHL has accomplished that feat.
His relationship with head coach Michael Dyck has been well documented over the course of the season, and yesterday Byram was very complimentary of their relationship.
Byram said, “We know each other well. He knows how to push my buttons to get me going and I know what he’s all about. We compliment each other well and he knows how to put me in the best position to succeed. I have nothing but good things to say about Michael Dyck.”
Will Bowen Byram be back with the Giants in 2019-20? That will no doubt be a prominent question on the minds of many as the off-season continues. But one thing is abundantly clear: Bowen Byram’s gratitude and pride towards the Vancouver Giants is as genuine as can be, and his memories stemming from 2018-19 will be with him forever:
“If you look at our lineup we had a lot of depth and character. It wasn’t a surprise to any of us that we had success. Everybody was happy with our effort, we did all we could. We didn’t get the result we wanted but it was unbelievable year.” – Bowen Byram reflecting on the 2018-19 Vancouver Giants season and their run to Game 7 of the Championship series against the Prince Albert Raiders.
To follow along with the NHL Draft tonight, click HERE. Round 1 of the draft kicks off tonight at 5:00 PM PT from Rogers Arena in Vancouver and Rounds 2 – 7 will take place tomorrow beginning at 10:00 AM PT.