Brett Howden excited to follow his brother Quinton to Moose Jaw
Brett Howden’s dream is to play with or against his brother Quinton in the National Hockey League.
Thursday, the 15-year-old learned that his path to the NHL would be the same as the one his older brother took when the Moose Jaw Warriors selected Brett Howden fifth overall in the annual Western Hockey League bantam draft.
“I’m so excited,” said Brett Howden. “I was hoping for this, but I didn’t really know what might happen.
“I was looking forward to getting drafted in the first place, by any team, but getting drafted by Moose Jaw is that extra bonus for me. I’m looking forward to it.”
Howden is a six-foot-two centre who played up a level this season with the
midget AAA Eastman Selects. He scored 11 goals and had 24 points in 30 games in the Manitoba Midget AAA League.
“I wanted to try to challenge myself and play with older kids,” said Howden. “I felt like I did my job through the season and did well in that league.
“The first couple of games I was still bit shaky here and there — not as confident. Once I got to January I was more comfortable and I was able to carry the puck more and I was happy with that.”
Howden is used to playing a physical style, but he said it took him some time to get that side of his game going against older opposition.
“I was a little timid in the first couple of months,” he admitted. “Once the first 10 games went by, I was thinking ‘I can actually do this.’ I got more confident and started playing my style of play.”
A broken wrist cut Howden’s league season short. Despite missing three months, he returned for the Director’s Cup bantam all-star tournament in Manitoba in the spring and didn’t show any rust.
“I was fortunate to see him play three times before he got hurt. He moved up to top-five a little faster than we thought,” said Warriors assistant general manager and head scout Rob MacLachlan. “He’s a good player. He’s big and strong. He’s a good skater. He’s not like Quinton, he’s a different player. He doesn’t like to be denied. He’ll run over the goaltender and whoever is in the way to do that.
“He likes to go to the high-traffic areas, the dirty areas, and compete.”
Brett said he wants to follow in his brother’s footsteps, but he agrees that he plays a different style than his brother, who was the first overall pick in the 2007 bantam draft.
“I’m more of a physical guy. He wasn’t as physical as I am right now. I’m a bit bigger than he was,” said Howden.
“He created footsteps for me to fill, but I have to create my own (path) to win the Warrior fans over to my style of play. I’m looking forward to it.”
Howden said he is going to be comfortable playing in Moose Jaw. With his brother playing four seasons with the Warriors, the Friendly City was like a second home.
“I think my parents are even more excited than I am,” said Howden with a laugh. “I’m looking forward to it and I’m excited for the journey to come.”
After the 2012 playoffs four of the Warriors’ Winnipeg contingent — Quinton Howden, Dylan McIlrath, James Henry and Travis Brown — coached Brett in summer hockey. Now Brown and Brett will be teammates at training camp at the end of the summer.
“I’m overwhelmed with it all,” said Howden. “Having (Brown) coach me and then playing next to him in training camp is going to be unreal.”