After 6 seasons and over 400 games as a Cardiff Devil, Ben Bowns is moving on to another club in mainland Europe.

Bowns has joined the Graz 99ers of the top league in Austria, the bet-at-home Ice Hockey League.  The Devils played Graz twice last season in the Champions Hockey League beating them both times with Bowns starring for the Devils on both occasions. 

Bowns_v_Fife_ws_HB.jpgphoto credit Helen Brabon

Bowns leaves the Devils as the most successful starting goalie in franchise history, leading the Devils to 3 Erhardt Conference Titles, 2 Challenge Cup Championships, 2 League Titles, and 2 Playoff Championships.

Bowns_playoff_trophy_DW.jpgphoto credit Dave Williams

Along with the team success, he has been named to the Elite League’s First All-Star Team 3 times out of his 6 years in Cardiff.  He was also selected as the Elite League’s Netminder of the Year for 3 seasons in a row from 2015-16 through 2017-18 and the Best British Player twice during that period. His 33 shutouts are a franchise record, including a league leading 9 in one season during the 2018-19 campaign. 

bowns_shootout_stop_graz_cs_hb.jpgphoto credit Dave Williams

He also starred on the International stage, leading Team GB to back to back Gold Medals and promotion to the top division of the World Championships where they will once again compete in May 2021. 

Bowns_Team_GB_Jack_Hughes_Dean_Woolley.jpgphoto credit Dean Woolley

Managing Director Todd Kelman spoke about the departure of Bowns:

“I know the entire organisation, from ownership down through management, staff and players are sad to see Bownsy go, but at the same time, we are so happy for him getting this opportunity in such a great league with a fantastic organisation.

bowns_chl_v_graz_ws.jpgphoto credit Champions Hockey League

“The fanbase here will be heartbroken.  That is just being honest.  He is one of, if not the most popular player we have ever had.  His impact on ice hockey in Cardiff goes far beyond the success he has had with the Devils.  He has been coaching kids nearly the whole time he has been here, even during the season. He has inspired a generation of British ice hockey players and in particular the next generation of goalies.

Bowns_pride_ws.jpgphoto credit Helen Brabon

“It is hard to put into words how much he has done for this club. He played nearly every game for 6 years and played his best hockey in the biggest games.  He came to us as a 23 year old kid who was just happy to be here and he leaves us as a proven winner, the most successful goalie in the league over the last 6 seasons, with a track record that speaks for itself domestically and internationally. 

bowns_with_owners_dw.jpgphoto credit Dave Williams

“I am immensely proud of him and I am so happy that he has been given this opportunity to prove himself at an even higher level in Europe.  He deserves everything he gets but we are going to miss him, on and off the ice.  He is a great goalie, a great teammate and a great person.”

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