Ice Hockey: GB honours were n-ice surprise for Swinton goalie Ben

Ben Bowns
Ben Bowns

Ice hockey star Ben Bowns admits to not expecting to start a game for Team GB - let alone receive the Player of the Tournament gong.

The Swinton-born sportsman has returned from international duty after goal-tending for his homeland.

The Cardiff Devils stopper certainly impressed in the Ice Hockey World Championships - where Team GB narrowly missed out on a bronze medal in Lithuania - as Bowns picked up his team’s Player of the Tournament honour.

“It was a proud moment. I didn’t expect it,” said 23-year-old Bowns.

“It was great and just nice to start a game. I didn’t expect to start that many, I got to play in every single game.

“I’ve worked hard to try and get up to that level for the past four years since I’d been in the under-20s, but when you’ve got a goalie in front of you like Stephen Murphy, it’s always going to tough to break into the side.

“Murphy’s absolutely brilliant on his day, he always keeps Belfast [Giants] in games and he’s kept GB in games as well.

“I knew it was going to be tough but with him being ill, it probably did me a favour and gave me a chance to show what I could do.”

Bowns’ rise on the rink has been a formidable one after Erhardt Conference side Cardiff moved quickly to acquire his services and prise him away from Yorkshire where he had spent a happy couple of seasons with Hull.

And with the off-season underway, Bowns is preparing himself for the step-up and training hard with the help of Sheffield Hallamshire University.

“I’ve approached training from a different angle this year and getting more out of it,” said Bowns who carried the Olympics torch in Warmsworth two years ago.

“You feel like you’ve been beaten up the night before to be honest, it’s tough but hopefully it will pay off in the long run,” said the net minder.

“Goal-tending is all about your leg and your strength power, agility and being mobile.

“I want to get a bit more mobility in my hips and build on my power and strength to make those saves that maybe I didn’t last year, just to give me that extra edge on the ice and hopefully push my game a bit further to the next level.”

Despite Bowns leaving Hull with a heavy heart, he is looking forward to his new challenge in Cardiff.

“It’s always a tough decision to leave clubs that you’ve been at for a while. Cardiff were the next step for me,” he said.

“My goal was to get into the top league and Dave Whistle [Devils coach] offered me that. I grabbed it with both hands and didn’t look back. It was a pretty easy choice.

“I did have other offers, but the big thing for me was that I wanted the step up and to put myself on the biggest stage.”