This summer was a whirlwind for Vancouver Giants defenseman Bowen Byram. After being selected by the Colorado Avalanche 4th overall in the 2019 NHL Draft, Byram went to Denver for the Avalanche prospect camp and training camp before finally returning to Vancouver to rejoin the Giants.
Byram joined James Cybulski and Mike English on Sportsnet 650 this week to discuss his journey to the NHL, his schedule for this season, and the outlook of this year’s Giants team.
The Giants face off tonight at 7:30 at the Langley Events Centre against the Portland Winterhawks
— Sportsnet 650 (@Sportsnet650) November 8, 2019
Was it hard going back to juniors?
It was pretty hard since my goal was to play in the NHL this year, but at the same time I need to be honest with myself and I wasn’t ready to play. I think being honest with myself made it a lot easier to come back and I was excited to be back. I have a lot of friends here and I knew we were going to have a good team. It’s definitely wasn’t my number one priority where I wanted to be over the summer but now that I’m back I’m super excited to have another playoff run here.
Byram on his upcoming schedule
I leave on Tuesday to fly to Saskatoon for the two WHL vs Russia games. Then I’m back after those, and hopefully, I get an invite to the World Juniors tryout camp that starts in early December. My goal is to play in the World Juniors so I hope I’m involved in that process.
On the Vancouver Giants expectations to be a Memorial Cup contender
We have an extremely different team than we had last year with a lot of new faces, pieces, and a lot of young guys. I think the transition may take longer than we hoped but I think we’re still a really good team and we’ve proven that when we play at our best. We just need to find a way to play our best on a more consistent basis. That’s what we’re working on right now. But we’re still a great team. We’ve got a great defense, goaltending, and a young but exciting group up front. It’s been a tough start of the year but we’re finding our groove and this is a huge weekend against Portland. We didn’t beat them last year so this is a couple of games that we want to get.
On newly acquired Joona Kiviniemi
He’s from Finland and is a really good guy from how I’ve gotten to know him so far. He’s a really good player too. He’s smart, he skates well and shoots the puck really well so he’s definitely a great addition to our team. It’s sad to see Sergei go. He was a great guy and really liked in the dressing room but sometimes you need to shake things up. Joona is a super good guy and should be a really good player for us.
What was the coolest thing you experienced being with the Avalanche?
The coolest thing for me happened during my last exhibition game in Vegas. They dressed quite a few of their good players with Shea Theodore, Mark Stone, Jonathan Marchessault, and Paul Stastny. It was pretty cool to be on the ice with those guys. I grew up watching them and Theodore has been one of my favorite defensemen for a while now. And the building in Vegas was crazy, the fans were unbelievable. Even for an exhibition game it was sold out and bumping. I’m so thankful for that opportunity and hopefully, I can make the jump next year.
Was there any player that surprised you on the ice?
Nathan MacKinnon is even better than you think. It’s pretty crazy with his skill, speed, and how driven he is. It was pretty crazy to watch.
Did you see the Avalanche score six goals in eight minutes last night?
Yeah, that was pretty crazy. Hopefully, we can get something going like that this weekend.