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Bowman, McCrae win WHL Championship

by Paul Branecky / Carolina Hurricanes

Hurricanes prospects Drayson Bowman and Justin McCrae won the Western Hockey League championship when their Spokane Chiefs swept the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the finals Tuesday night.  

Bowman (third round, 72nd overall) and McCrae (fourth round, 102nd overall) were both chosen by the Hurricanes in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft last summer.  They will now advance to play in the Memorial Cup, which pits the champions of each Canadian major junior league, the WHL, Ontario Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, as well as a host club, against each other in bid for national supremacy.

After finishing the regular season tied for fourth in the WHL in goal scoring with 42, Bowman, a 6-foot, 180 pound center/left wing, continued his strong season by scoring 20 points in 21 games in the playoffs.  That tied him for the team lead in scoring and for fourth overall in overall playoff scoring with teammate Ondrej Roman.

McCrae, a 6-foot-1, 185 pound center who joined the Chiefs in a mid-season trade from the Saskatoon Blades, added seven assists in the playoffs to go along with the 41 points he scored in 65 regular season games.

Both players were described as smart, two-way players when the Hurricanes drafted them last June.  Bowman had a breakout season offensively, nearly doubling his point total from the previous season after impressing in the Hurricanes’ training camp prior to the 2008-08 season.

The Memorial Cup begins on May 16 in Kitchener, OntarioSpokane will face off against OHL champion Belleville, the host Kitchener Rangers (OHL) and the winner of the QMJHL finals, either Gatineau or Rouyn-Noranda.

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