Chris Owens is ready for the next step in his hockey career. The 24-year-old St. John’s native who helped the Acadia Axemen win the AUS championship in his final year of university hockey, has been invited to the American Hockey League’s St. John’s IceCaps training camp, scheduled for Sept. 28-29 at Mile One Centre.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Owens said Monday. “I grew up here, so it’s cool to get a shot with a professional team at home.”
Owens said top-notch conditioning is a priority with him and he’s been working out all summer to be in the best shape possible.
“You need to be ready to compete,” said the 5-10, 190 pound defenceman who was a first-team conference all-star last season
He’s also helping out at four Newfoundland and Labrador hockey schools, including the Danny Cleary Hockey School at Jack Byrne Arena and the Atlantic Ice Warriors Hockey School in Clarenville, both running this month.
Owens says he brings “a pretty good offensive upside and strong defensive game” to the table for those teams interested in his services.
“I’m smart with the puck and I make a pretty good first pass,” he added.
Owens had 31 points (nine goals, 22 assists) in 28 games with the Axemen last season and averaged almost a point per game in his four years at Acadia with 104 points (30 goals, 74 assists) in 109 games.
Owens, who played his high school hockey at Holy Heart and midget with Tri-Pen, came to Acadia from the Miramichi Timberwolves of the Maritime Junior A league where he registered 60 goals and 258 points over four years.
Six defencemen who were with the IceCaps last season — Ben Chiarot, Will O’Neill, Julian Melchiori, Brenden Kichton, Jordan Hill and Kris Fredheim — are signed either to NHL contracts with the parent Winnipeg Jets or to AHL contracts with St. John’s. In addition, last week the Jets signed rearguard Julien Brouillette, who spent most of the 2013-14 season with the AHL’s Hershey Bears to a two-way contract, while also inking Latvian blueliner Ralfs Freibergs, who played in the U.S. college ranks last season, to an AHL deal.