|Senators forward prospect Corey Cowick has taken a long road to where he is today, having signed an entry-level club with the NHL team earlier this week (Ottawa Senators Hockey Club). |
's excellent hockey adventure shows no signs of ending anytime soon.
With a mix of celebration and relief, the 21-year-old forward put his name to a contract with the Senators on Thursday — an entry-level deal that keeps his National Hockey League dream very much alive and well.
"We had expected it to happen for some time this summer," Cowick said in an interview with CBC Radio Ottawa. "But just getting that e-mail with the offer was definitely a relief. I sent a lot of text messages to my agent the last couple of weeks, let's just say that."
That all of this is happening in his hometown, where he's also enjoyed some serious junior hockey success with the OHLs Ottawa 67's ... well, that just adds a bit of a fairytale touch to all of this.
But there is nothing storybook about the way Cowick — a sixth-round pick (160th overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft — has gone about impressing his potential future employers. He opened plenty of eyes at the Senators' development camp in July, which went a long way toward landing him a prized NHL contract.
"You go to their development camp and just try to impress them as much as you can and hope for a contract," said Cowick, the first 67's player ever to be drafted and sign with the Senators. "I was in kind of a unique situation because I was not drafted as an 18-year-old, like most kids. I was (passed over) twice (in the NHL draft).
"I had nowhere to play this year if I didn't sign, so I had to impress them a little bit more, just to get that contract. Now that I've got that contract with them, I'll be playing with their farm team (the American Hockey League's Binghamton Senators) this year and hopefully, I make the big club in a year's time."
If it happens, it will no doubt be a testament to Cowick's tireless work ethic. The 6-2, 201-pound forward, who describes himself as a "prototypical late bloomer," has earned everything his gotten so far in hockey and took full advantage of the opportunity presented to him when Cowick was dealt by the Oshawa Generals to the 67's before the 2008-09 season.
"I was always the hardest-working guy on my teams the last couple of years. That turned into a lot of success for me and the team. I wasn't overly skilled growing up as a kid, but my work ethic definitely propelled me over some of the more skilled guys ... It felt that much better when I got to sign the contract, knowing that I've definitely come a long way as a player and as a person. That's been the journey of my hockey career." - Corey Cowick
"Brian Kilrea (brought me) to Ottawa, gave me a lot more opportunity and gave me a lot more confidence," Cowick told CBC Radio Ottawa. "That's something I lacked before and I think I realized that if I get somewhere, I'm going to be taking the scenic route. But I realized that it's much more fulfilling getting there when you take that route.
"I developed a very, very good work ethic. I was always the hardest-working guy on my teams the last couple of years. That turned into a lot of success for me and the team. I wasn't overly skilled growing up as a kid, but my work ethic definitely propelled me over some of the more skilled guys. I think that's why it took me a little bit longer to get where I am."
After scoring a combined 15 goals during two OHL seasons in Oshawa, Cowick found the back of the net 34 times during his first year with the 67's. A shoulder injury limited him to 27 games in 2009-10, but Cowick still produced 15 goals. Perhaps most impressively, he's notched 16 goals in 19 playoff games over the last two seasons.
"I'm kind of a hybrid, a fast winger who loves to hit but I can also score some goals," said Cowick. "I think I can fit in on any line on any team ... I have a very well-rounded game."
And now, thanks to the contract Cowick just inked with the Senators, he has at least two more seasons to keep honing that game. Bet on the hard-working forward making the most of every second of that opportunity.
"It felt that much better when I got to sign the contract, knowing that I've definitely come a long way as a player and as a person," said Cowick. "That's been the journey of my hockey career. It's definitely more fulfilling (taking that route) when you know you're not the first-rounder and you get stuff handed to you."