|Senators forward prospect Corey Cowick is an Ottawa native who's previously played with the 67's of the Ontario Hockey League and participated in the Bell Capital Cup, which annually finishes up at Scotiabank Place (Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photography/OSHC).
His entire hockey life, one might suggest, reads like the quintessential Ottawa story.
Born and raised in the nation’s capital, played major junior hockey with the 67’s, then drafted by the Senators … Corey Cowick
admits it’s the kind of tale that isn’t written every day, with every chapter better and more exciting than the one before it.
“I guess the city likes me a little bit, right?” the 21-year-old forward said with a wide grin. “For sure, growing up, everything was Ottawa. I loved the Sens. I grew up with an (Alexei) Yashin jersey on my back on the outdoor rink and got to games as often as I could.
“I’ve really thrived on the hockey community in Ottawa. It’s definitely an unbelievable experience and it’s extremely unique. Not too many guys get to play (major) junior in their hometown, let alone hopefully playing in the NHL someday in their hometown.”
Of course, Cowick’s Ottawa hockey odyssey wouldn’t be complete without an appearance in the Bell Capital Cup. And yes, there is room for that minor hockey experience in this story, too. Back in 2001, Cowick and his Gloucester Rangers team were among the entrants in the event’s Major Atom AAA division.
“It was pretty big,” Cowick said in looking back. “Usually growing up as a kid, when you go to big tournaments, you’re going to Toronto or you’re going to places in and around the Greater Toronto area or down to the States. But to play in one in your own backyard and to see kids from everywhere … the year I played, we had teams from Jokerit, Finland, and a lot of the big-name teams from.”
In the eyes of an Ottawa boy, nothing was bigger about it all than the chance to play at Scotiabank Place, the home of the Senators. It’s where the tournament finals and all-star games are traditionally played.
“That was huge, too,” he said. “As a kid, you come up to the rink and you watch all your favourite players play on it and then to play on that ice surface (yourself) was a pretty amazing experience.”
"I’ve really thrived on the hockey community in Ottawa. It’s definitely an unbelievable experience and it’s extremely unique. Not too many guys get to play (major) junior in their hometown, let alone hopefully playing in the NHL someday in their hometown." - Corey Cowick
Cowick got his opportunity by earning a shot in his division’s all-star game, a contest which also involved John Tavares, who would go on to become the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Islanders. It is Cowick’s most enduring Bell Capital Cup memory.
“It was the first time I ever really made an all-star game on that level,” he said. “We all got jerseys and they announced your name — they made you feel really, really special. We got little gift bags. It was really a pretty cool experience. There was a skills competition and it was the first time I’d ever seen one of those.
“The thing I remember was just seeing the guys I played against growing up, the guys at the top of their teams. I was never the best player on my team but I got to make it through a little bit of hard work and to wind up being there with those guys was pretty cool.”
That he might someday be drafted into the National Hockey League by the team that called Scotiabank Place home … that was far from the mind of an 11-year-old Cowick at the time.
“You’re kind of just in awe back then,” he said. “(The building) is so big and there’s nobody there, just your parents in the stands or some other players who are playing before or after you. It’s so big and you’re just kind of in awe of the spectacle that is Scotiabank Place.”
The 2011 Bell Capital Cup wraps up with championship games on New Year’s Day, Sunday and Monday at Scotiabank Place.