Caden Brown was meant to be a Prince George Cougar.
The Cougars used their second pick, 17th overall, in the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft to select the forward from the Delta Hockey Academy’s (DHA) Bantam Prep Green team.
“It was an honour being drafted in the first round, especially by a great organization like Prince George,” said Brown. “It was extra special for me being from northern B.C. and having a lot of family there. Prince George was like a second home to me growing up.”
Brown grew up in Fort St. John, BC, a five-hour drive northwest of Prince George, but two seasons ago he relocated to Delta to play Bantam in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League. Despite the move south Brown says there is still strong family ties to the north as he has a lot of relatives on his dad’s side of the family in Prince George.
When Brown eventually makes his Cougars debut, he will be the second in his family to wear the jersey. His father, Ryan Brown, was a defenceman that played four seasons in the WHL with three teams, that included half a season with the Cougars in 1994-1995. The elder Brown played over 250 career regular season games in the WHL and won a championship with the Swift Current Broncos in 1993. He also played in two Memorial Cups and was drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning (107th overall) in 1993.
Caden may pack more of an offensive punch than his dad did but still has his rugged traits. Ryan amassed nearly 800 penalty minutes in 256 career regular season game games. His son Caden certainly has some bite to his game too.
“I like to play physical; I can hit, go into the corners and get pucks. I want to work on getting bigger, stronger so I can dominate in the corners at the next level,” said Brown.
Cougars’ Director of Scouting, Bob Simmonds after the Bantam Draft in April described Brown as a “hard and heavy player, who is tremendously competitive.”
When asked in a recent phone interview which NHL player(s) he looks up to, Brown quickly pointed to the Calgary Flames’ Matthew Tkachuk and the St. Louis Blues’ Brayden Schenn. Two prototypical power forwards in today’s game. Tkachuk has gained plenty of notoriety for not only being a high-end forward but a top agitator in the NHL, something that Brown has gotten a reputation for himself.
“I like how those two guys use not only their skill but size to be effective,” said Brown. “They both are super competitive and compete on every shift and that’s what I take a lot of pride in. I guess you can say I like to talk on the ice too.”
Simmonds definitely sees the Tkachuk traits, as he joked that he never heard a player trash talk more than Brown did when scouting his games this season.
Brown was the captain of his Bantam team and even though he can be vocal on the ice, he says he left most of his talking for the opposition, “I’m not the most vocal leader but definitely a player who leads by example. I take pride in playing the right way.”
Even though the COVID-19 pandemic prematurely ended Brown’s season, it didn’t leave him empty handed. He and DHA Prep Green won the inaugural WHL U.S. Challenge Cup in Kent, WA in February. Brown said capturing the tournament title was extra special given who they beat in the championship game.
“Winning that tournament was the highlight of the season for me. It was an even better feeling beating our rival (Yale) at the end. They beat us the weekend before and that game had a couple of fights and a couple of kids were kicked out too.”
Not only did DHA Prep Green win the WHL U.S. Challenge Cup, but they also finished first in in the CSSHL Bantam Prep standings with an impressive 25-4-1 (W-L-OTL) record. Only one thing missing from his resume this past season: a crack at the CSSHL championship.
Brown is poised to become a second-generation Cougar, but he and Cougars’ fans will have to wait at least one season for that to happen. In the meantime, he’ll look to take care of some unfinished business next season, as he plans to return to Delta in the fall to play on their Under-17 Prep squad.