All this forward has done is score at every level
Zach O’Brien was the Kelly Cup playoffs’ MVP, further cementing himself as a bona fide star in the ECHL, James Melindy wore the captain’s ‘C’ and Adam Pardy brought 350 games worth of National Hockey League experience to the Newfoundland Growlers blueline during their championship run.
But there’s a fourth Newfoundlander on the squad who can’t be overlooked, and that’s rookie Marcus Power, who’s only been producing at every level at which he’s played, the ECHL being no exception.
Fresh off a four-year stint of Canadian university hockey at the University of Prince Edward Island, the St. John’s native was the Growlers’ very first signing, and he didn’t disappoint, averaging a point-per-game during the regular season and chipping in with four goals and 15 points in 21 playoff starts.
Quick, name some of the best players this province has iced in the past decade, and there’s a good chance Power’s name won’t be among them, for whatever reason.
And that despite finishing second in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League scoring to current Detroit Red Wing Anthony Mantha in 2013-14, and either leading the UPEI Panthers in scoring or sharing the team three out of four years at UPEI.
“Going to school was something I really wanted to do,” said Power, a product of the St. John’s minor hockey system, following the Growlers’ championship-clinching 4-3 win over the Toledo Walleye Tuesday night at Mile One Centre. “I’d hoped for the chance to play pro was there afterwards.”
That chance came last summer when Power’s agent got a call from Mike Dixon, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ director of minor league operations. That was followed by a call from the Growlers’ newly-minted coach, Ryane Clowe.
“That was the easiest decision ever,” said the Growlers’ 25-year-old forward. “I think it took two seconds.
“Clowie set the stage instilling a winning mindset and we carried that all the way from September to this moment.
“I’ve been lucky to get a chance to play on a team like this. I mean, the way this team and this organization is run, it’s pretty much like an AHL team. To get this opportunity, well, I’m pretty lucky.”
It’s not the first time Power’s starred at Mile One. In 2011, the arena played host to the Telus Cup national major midget championship, and Power was eighth in tournament scoring, winning the most sportsmanlike award along the way.
That particular championship followed the Atlantics where Power, toiling for the St. John’s Privateers, led all scorers and was named MVP.
That came a year after he helped the St. John’s Fog Devils win the bronze medal at the 2010 national major midget championship (O’Brien, by the way, was the tournament’s top forward and leading scorer in that tournament).
Joining Power in celebrating the Growlers’ championship was his father, Tim, who long has been managing major midget, AAA bantam and AAA peewee hockey teams.
The elder Power is currently an administrator with the Don Johnson Hockey League.
“Oh man, it’s like you don’t want it to end because it’s so hard to grab,” said Tim Power, who was part of the management group with the 1986-87 Herder-winning St. John’s Capitals. “Sixteen wins (in the playoffs). That’s not easy. Incredible.”
Power is signed to only a one-year contract with the Growlers, but is certain to draw some attention over the summer.
Being part of a winning team can only help his cause.
“Winning in the playoffs is all that really matters at the end of the day,” he said, “and when you can show people you’re a winner, that goes a long way.”
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