Calgary, Alta. – A product of the Yale Hockey Academy of the Canadian Sport School Hockey League, Bowen Byram is coming off an unforgettable season with the Vancouver Giants, who drafted him 3rd overall in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft. The following season Byram took his talents to Yale Hockey Academy where he registered an impressive 5 goals and 24 assists in 20 games. When asked why Byram made the decision to attend Yale Hockey Academy, Brad Bowen, Byram’s Midget Prep coach said “Bowen wanted to take his game more serious, while getting ahead in his academics, along with playing 60 games, learning to travel, learning to be on the road and having a staff committed to pushing the guys to another level.” Despite a heavy workload with Yale, Byram suited up for 11 games with the Giants as 15-year-old and capped the year off by being named CSSHL’s Top Defenceman.
Byram’s experience as a 15-year-old helped prepare him for his rookie season in the WHL during the 2017/18 campaign. During his rookie year, Byram notched 6 goals and 21 assists and was named Western Conference Rookie of the Year. Byram also represented Team Canada at the U17 and U18 World Championships. “You knew you could count on Byram in any situation. He would play the powerplay, he would kill penalties, he would play late in games. He wasn’t your prototypical 16-year-old,” says Dan O’Connor, Vancouver Giants Director of Media Relations, reflecting on Byram’s rookie season with the Giants.
He followed up his rookie year with a season to be remembered. Regarded as one of the leagues’ strongest skaters, Byram quickly found himself among the top prospects of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, a year full of offensive threats, including former Yale teammate and the WHL’s own, Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge Hurricanes). During the 2018/19 season, Byram not only broke the Giants record for most goals in a season by a defenceman with 26, he also led all CHL defencemen in goal scoring. His production didn’t slow down in the post-season, where he put up a playoff-leading 26 points and helped propel the Giants to an incredible playoff run that ultimately fell one goal short of capturing the WHL Championship. To cap off his record-setting season, Byram received the Sherwin-Williams CHL Top Prospect Award and became the first Vancouver Giant to earn that honour.
Bowen didn’t have much time away from the rink before heading out to Buffalo for the NHL Combine in early June, a month that was filled with interviews for the young star. Heading into the draft, NHL Central Scouting had Byram listed as the second-best skater among North Americans and he was unanimously considered the top Canadian prospect. While his on-ice abilities are evident, Byram was also praised by scouts for his attitude, character, and leadership. He did not wait long to hear his name called as the Colorado Avalanche used the 4th overall pick making him the first defenceman selected in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.
A week after the draft, Byram attended the Colorado Avalanche’s Development Camp and had the opportunity to meet the staff, prospects, current players and got to experience what Denver has to offer, a city he hopes to spend much of his future. On July 19th Byram inked a three-year, entry-level contract with the Avs before heading off to Plymouth, Michigan to compete in Hockey Canada’s National Junior Team Sport Chek Summer Development Camp. With the NHL draft in his rear-view, Byram used this past off season to prepare for his first opportunity to make an NHL roster at the Avalanche’s Training Camp. “It would not surprise me to see Bowen Byram getting a long, hard look at the NHL level,” says O’Connor on Byram’s upcoming season. If he doesn’t crack the Avs roster Byram will be back in Vancouver on a team many believe will have a chance to compete for the Memorial Cup.