Locals integral part of Canada’s team at University Games

Robin
Robin Short
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Newfoundland will be well represented on the Canadian hockey team which will take part in 2013 Winter Universiade (World University Games) Dec. 10-21 in Trentino, Italy.

Players Chris Owens (Acadia University) and Josh Day (St. Francis Xavier University) of St. John’s, along with Robert Slaney (St. FX) of Upper Island Cove will don Canada’s colours, while Brad Peddle of St. John’s will assist head coach Gardiner MacDougall. Peddle is in his ninth season as head coach of the X-Men.

The team is comprised entirely of players from the Atlantic University Sport conference.

Day is a fifth-year defenceman at St. FX, with a goal and five assists through 12 games this season. A second-team all-star in the AUS conference last season, Day played five seasons in the Ontario Hockey League with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Mississauga/Niagara IceDogs and Brampton Battalion.

Slaney is making his mark as a first-year player in the AUS, leading the X-Men in scoring with six goals and seven assists through 11 games.

The 25-year-old played four years in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, before signing a free agent contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He played professionally four three season, including parts of two years with the Toronto Marlies (Leafs) and Hamilton Bulldogs (Montreal Canadiens) of the American Hockey League.

Slaney is a former QMJHL scholastic player of the year.

Owens might be the most interesting study of the three.

The 5-10 defenceman from St. John’s did not play major midget hockey, but was good enough at the midget ‘A’ level to convince the Miramichi Timberwolves of the Maritime Junior A Hockey League to invite him to camp.

He didn’t disappoint.

In his final season of junior, Owens won the Maritime league’s scoring title ... as a defenceman.

After joining the Axemen in 2010-11, Owens was named to the AUS and Canadian Interuniversity Sport all-rookie team, and for the past seasons has been a conference first-team all-star. He was an AUS and CIS first-team all-Canadian in 2011-12.

He was second in scoring among all AUS defenceman last season, after leading all rearguards in scoring in 2011-12. His six goals and five assists through a dozen games tops all defencemen so far this season, his fourth year at Acadia. In three years with the Axemen, Owens has 27 goals, 57 assists and 84 points in 92 games.

“I’ve never played overseas, and I can’t wait,” he told Nova Scotia’s King’s County News. “It’s tough to think that far ahead — there are three important games to play first (entering play this weekend, Acadia had won 10 of its first 11 regular season games) — but after that, it’s all that will be on my mind.

“It’s a great feeling being named to a Canadian hockey team, although it was kind of nerve-wracking waiting for the call.”

Owens is scheduled to graduate from Acadia in May with a business administration degree.

And he’s not planning to be back. Rather, he intends to chase his dream of a pro career

“I’d like to take it as far as I can,” he said. “Maybe start in the ECHL, then move up or maybe play overseas ... whatever comes my way.”

Owens, Day, Slaney and Peddle aren’t the only Newfoundlanders to compete in the World University Games this year. Gymnast Erica Devereaux of Logy Bay and track and field athlete Ryan Brockerville took part in the 2013 Summer Universiade in Kazan, Russia in July.

The men’s hockey team won a bronze medal at the last Winter Universiade, two years ago in Erzurum, Turkey.

rshort@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Atlantic University Sport, Acadia University, St. Francis Xavier University Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Toronto Maple Leafs Ontario Hockey League Toronto Marlies Montreal Canadiens American Hockey League.Slaney Maritime Junior A County News World University Games

Geographic location: Canada, Upper Island Cove, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds Mississauga Nova Scotia Logy Bay Kazan Russia Erzurum

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  • Joe
    November 30, 2013 - 08:27

    I think you forgot Alex wall from upei.