Keeper Bowns eyes third year at Stingrays
NETMINDER Ben Bowns will happily consider a third season in Hull Stingrays' colours.
The 22-year-old signed a two-year deal last Summer and the club confirmed he will definitely return in 2013-14 at last night's fans' forum – along with forward Jereme Tendler.
However, Bowns is already looking beyond the end of his current contract.
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"I did sign a two-year deal last June, but obviously it's got a two-week notice clause in it," he said.
"So, if I'd done terribly this year I would not have expected Sylvain Cloutier to want me back.
"For me, it wasn't really a decision to consider.
"I have enjoyed it this year, it's a good set-up. Sylvain is one of the best coaches I have ever had and I've got a lot of respect for him.
"The fans are great and I'm enjoying playing here. It's like a little family.
"I didn't have any intention of going anywhere else and once my second year is up then obviously I'll weigh up my options and see if Sylvain wants me back.
"If he is still here I would probably be happy to return for a third year."
Bowns is in his first year in the Elite League, having stepped up close-season from English Premier League Sheffield Steeldogs.
A current save rate of 90 per cent is a very respectable performance in a struggling Rapid Solicitors Stingrays team.
Bowns admits it took him a month to adjust to the Elite League and he has endured dips in form since.
And, he explained, his Great Britain senior debut at the Olympic Qualification tournament in Latvia was an eye-opener, in terms of both what he needs to improve on and what he can already do as a keeper.
Bowns will be a shoo-in for GB's World Championship battles next month, but before then he will back-stop Stingrays in their play-off quest.
With eight games left, starting tomorrow in Braehead and at home on Sunday to Fife, Stingrays must make up a four-point deficit to eighth place in the overall standings to qualify.
Alternatively, they need to finish top of their own Gardiner Conference and go through as second seeds.
"We'd have liked to get all four points last weekend, but only got two against Braehead and lost to Fife," said Bowns.
"Sunday's win was huge. It wasn't a case of it was all over if we hadn't won, but it would have made our task much harder, rather than it being all over.
"It's still going to be hard, but I believe we have the team that can do it.
"We are only one point off the top of our Conference.
"If we win all our remaining games, and other results fall right, we could still do it."