Throughout the month of August, we’re celebrating the class of WHL Graduates from the 2021-22 season. Join us as we go Club by Club in recognizing the achievements of the 20-year-old players from this past season moving on to access their WHL Scholarship or to professional hockey.
We continue our 22-part series with the Prince George Cougars and their graduating trio of Connor Bowie, Jonas Brøndberg and Jonny Hooker.
Bowie was originally selected by the Portland Winterhawks in the 2016 WHL Draft, but played his entire WHL career with the Prince George Cougars after being included in a deal at the 2018 WHL Trade Deadline.
The product of Fort St. John, B.C. earned a near-immediate call-up to the Cougars, playing in 10 games down the stretch in the 2017-18 regular season and scoring his first WHL goal against Portland March 7, 2018.
Bowie developed into a dependable forward for Prince George, appearing in no fewer than 62 games in each of his three full-length seasons with the Cougars.
He hit the 12-goal mark in 2019-20, then added eight more in the shortened 2020-21 campaign, good for second among Prince George skaters.
Bowie was part of the Cougars leadership group in each of his last two seasons, completing his 222 WHL regular season games with a 15-goal, 28-point campaign for Prince George in 2021-22, and was one of only four WHL players (Reece Vitelli, Alex Swetlikoff, Riley Fiddler-Schultz) to attempt more than 1,500 face-offs during the regular season.
Danish import Jonas Brøndberg spent three seasons in the WHL after being selected in the second round of the 2019 CHL Import Draft by the Portland Winterhawks.
The 6-foot-4 defenceman appeared in 50 games for Portland in 2019-20, recording a pair of assists in his debut September 21, 2019 versus Tri-City and finishing the campaign with nine goals and 22 points.
He played in 20 contests for the Winterhawks the following year, then returned to Portland for his 20-year-old campaign in 2021-22, skating in 20 more contests before being included in the blockbuster Taylor Gauthier trade with the Prince George Cougars in December.
He added depth to the Cougars blueline, skating in 35 regular season games as Prince George pushed for a playoff spot and scoring his first goal with Prince George April 1, 2022 against Kelowna.
Brøndberg would add another tally in four post-season appearances against his former Winterhawks teammates.
He’ll return to Europe this coming autumn with Kristianstads IK of the HockeyAllsvenskan, the second tier of professional hockey in Sweden.
Hailing from Winnipeg, Man., forward Jonny Hooker broke into the WHL in his home province after being selected in the eighth round of the 2016 WHL Draft by the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Hooker’s WHL debut came in Brandon September 22, 2017 versus the Regina Pats; one week later he scored his first WHL goal on home ice against the Red Deer Rebels.
Over the next two seasons, Hooker played in exactly 100 regular season games for the Wheat Kings, but his offensive production hit a new level at the start of the 2019-20 campaign.
Hooker scored eight times in the first half of the season, but was dealt to the Prince George Cougars ahead of the 2020 WHL Trade Deadline. He’d go on to add six more goals in his first 24 appearances with the Cougars including in his first two games with Prince George.
Hooker collected 11 points for the Cougars in the shortened 2020-21 campaign, after which he was anointed with the captaincy for the 2021-22 season. He’d tally a career-best 17 goals for Prince George, helping the Cougars return to the WHL Playoffs for the first time in five years in the process.
He is slated to take advantage of his WHL Scholarship in the fall at the University of Manitoba.