This year’s Grand Forks Border Bruins squad is markedly different than last year’s.
The team has eclipsed last year’s one-win total five times over and there is more talent in the lineup and the team has three forwards with the same first name – Connor.
Connor Gross, Connor Kidd and Connor Bowen have all contributed in their own ways to the team – Gross leads the team in goals (18) and points (35), Bowen is third in scoring (18 points) and scored a hat trick a few weeks ago and Kidd has chipped in with three goals and eight assists.
“They all bring a lot to the table,” explains Border Bruins head coach and GM Nick Deschenes. “Connor Gross brings offensive ability, leadership on the ice. Connor Bowen brings experience, having played in the (Kootenay International Junior Hockey League) last year with Castlegar and is hard working and Connor Kidd is a rookie and is progressing into that second line centre role and is starting to play well on both sides of the ice and is starting to get more confident.”
Deschenes says that it is a rarity, having three players with the same first name – using last names on the bench is a must, he jokes.
As for the three, they use nicknames as well as the last names with Kidd going by Kidder and Bowen and Gross going by their family names.
“Passing and seeing the ice well,” says Gross when asked about his strengths.
“Finishing my checks and I’m a fast player,” says Bowen.
“I’m a play-maker and like to play the body as much as I can,” Kidd explains.
When asked about who the better player of the three, Bowen and Kidd point to Gross and two of the three have similar hobbies.
“I play a lot of Xbox,” explains Gross with Bowen saying the same.
“I like to golf and fish,” says Kidd, although he is into video gaming as well.
Kidd and Bowen enjoy playing NHL 2013 but Gross says he enjoys the first person shooter Call of Duty.
Gross and Bowen have both played over 30 games, while Kidd has played 24 and the three think the team is starting to gel.
“I think we’ve been making some big strides lately,” says Gross. “We’re coming together as a group and playing pretty well.”
Bowen says the confidence level has increased from the beginning of the season. “We’re getting close and we’re going to keep building,” Bowen says.
“I didn’t get here until a month and a half into the season and even from that point, I’ve still seen some huge strides,” opines Kidd. “We’re a much better team now.”