After the Buffalo Beauts’ 2019 Free Agent Camp concluded on Jul. 28, player signings for the team have continued to be announced during the few days that have followed – three additions through five days. The NWHL released word on the morning of Aug. 2 that the Beauts had brought aboard former University of Toronto team captain Becki Bowering.
The recent graduate is eager to trade in her “Varsity Blues” in exchange for some new “Beauts blue”.
“I’m extremely excited to sign with the Buffalo Beauts,” Bowering said in the league’s press release. “I am getting an opportunity to play women’s hockey at the professional level and be surrounded by amazing players, coaches and staff in the NWHL. Playing in the NWHL is a dream come true. The Beauts’ staff has welcomed me with open arms, and I can’t wait to get this season started.”
Bowering becomes the sixth player to be signed by the Beauts thus far, and the team’s fourth forward. She recently completed her collegiate career with Toronto, and played a total of five seasons for the Varsity Blues women’s hockey team.
The Beauts New Checking Specialist?
The strengths that Bowering will bring to her new hockey club will be more defensive in nature. When comparing the signings that the Beauts have made so far alongside those of say the Boston Pride or the Minnesota Whitecaps, Buffalo seems to have more of a “defense wins hockey games” approach. Bowering will be a key contributor in that regard.
If the Beauts do not outscore their opponents, they can certainly outwork them.
“I believe I bring a lot of leadership, speed, forechecking and playmaking,” Bowering went on to say in the press release. “I take pride in my defensive abilities and in winning crucial battles in the defensive zone. I had five great years with the Varsity Blues and I hope to bring my own style of play and work ethic. I feel I can adapt to the pro hockey culture and fit right into the Buffalo Beauts’ systems. I expect our team to be extremely competitive, and my goal is to help us contend for the Isobel Cup.”
In 112 career games for the Varsity Blues, Bowering tallied five goals and seven assists for 12 points. She never played less than 20 games in each of her five seasons. While not a player to generate much offense, Bowering’s ability to forecheck and backcheck tenaciously in conjunction with her work ethic make her invaluable.
“Becki brings passion, skill and leadership – everything we want for our team,” said Beauts head coach Pete Perram about his team’s newest player.
Checking-Line and Penalty-Killing Units
While not overly large, Bowering has good size and strength at 5-foot-7 and 150 pounds. She works well in any sort of puck-battle, and did so throughout her time with the Varsity Blues.
The Beauts appear to have at least two-thirds of what could be a very solid checking-line for the team. Placing Bowering and Kim Brown onto a shutdown unit together would be a strong pairing to stymie opposing offenses. Both players are very quick skaters, attack aggressively and noticeably shorten the amount time the opposition has to think.
It will be interesting to see who Perram and Beauts GM Mandy Cronin decide could be a third player on such a unit. Original NWHLer and longtime Beaut Corinne Buie has fit such a role in the past, but that does not seem the best means of utilizing her this coming season. More than anything else, Buffalo would need Buie to produce offense and she will br eating up top-line minutes.
That being said, there is nothing to truly limit Perram from taking Bowering and pairing her with Buie as his forwards for a penalty-killing unit. The duo would seem to fit quite well with one another. Having a defensively responsible blueliner in Meg Delay now inked too, a complete PK unit is more than halfway there.
Beauts GM Mandy Cronin certainly sees the value Bowering brings to the team, and knows that she is a vital piece of the puzzle. You get the feeling that Cronin has had her eye on this player for quite a while.
“Becki is coming from a very solid college program that has seen great success,” Cronin said in the press release. “She is a proven leader who will be a big asset to our Beauts lineup.”
As of Aug. 2, here is how the Beauts’ roster currently looks:
Goaltender: Mariah Fujimagari.
Defender: Meg Delay.
Forward: Corinne Buie, Brooke Stacey, Kim Brown, Becki Bowering.
Beginning May 15, NWHL teams can re-sign players from their 2018-19 roster and their draft picks. Additionally, for those players who have completed their college eligibility and want to continue their hockey careers, NWHL Free Agency provides the best opportunity to continue playing at the highest level of professional women’s hockey. The fifth season of the NWHL will begin in October as the Minnesota Whitecaps look to defend their Isobel Cup championship.
My colleague Dan Rice will keep THW readers up-to-date on Metropolitan and Connecticut’s signings throughout the summer, while I post updates on Buffalo and Boston. Together we will be keeping readers informed of all of Minnesota’s signings.