Calling Chris Owens “one of the smartest and most dynamic players that's been at Acadia in the last 25 years,” Axemen coach Darren Burns said the Newfoundlander rates up there with the best players ever at the university.
Burns says he believes Owens can take his game to the next level. Acadia grad Owens hopes he’s right.
“He’s been one of the top defenceman in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) the past four years,” said Burns. “He has been an extremely pivotal player in the programs success especially this past season.”
Burns said he felt Owens took his game to a new level this season and he can go further in his hockey career.
“I feel he can definitely make the jump to the AHL next year, but it will take a lot of work,” the coach said. “The bottom line is when a player dominates at a level I feel he deserves a shot at the next level. That's where Chris is at in his career.”
For his part, Owens, who has a business degree in his hip pocket, hopes to “get a look somewhere and continue playing.”
Owens said he’s waiting to get a tryout with a team at some level “and take it from there. It’s the slow time of year right now.”
The St. John’s native, 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.
“I had a slow start in my first year until after Christmas when I put up some good numbers,” said Owens. “It was a big jump from junior A to university, but I settled in pretty good.”
In his final year with the Axemen, the 24-year-old helped Acadia win the AUS championship. Owens picked up nine points including four goals in Acadia’s playoff run which earned the Axemen their first appearance in the CIS University Cup since 2006. He finished his university career with 30 goals and 104 points.
An offensive-defenceman, he was also considered very responsible in his own end, good enough, in fact, to be chosen the Axemen’s 2014 defensive player of the year.
“He does an excellent job drawing assignments of playing against the country’s best players most every night,” noted Burns. “Chris is a strong leader on the defensive unit and an important part of the penalty kill and power play.”
Owens said he appreciates the coach’s compliments.
“It makes you feel like you can keep going, keep playing,” he said
The five-foot-ten, 190 pounder played on an Acadia roster that also included fellow Newfoundlanders Travis Randell from Twillingate, a forward, and goaltender Evan Mosher from Conception Bay South.
Owens said he would recommend Acadia University to anyone from Newfoundland and Labrador.
“It’s a great place to go to school and to play hockey. It helped me mature as a player and a person. I loved it there.”