BY RON VALENTINE
The West Division’s Milton Menace have named defenceman Owen Forester as the captain of the club.
In minor hockey Owen played for the Toronto Nationals organization and he joined the Menace for the 2019-20 campaign.
Last season was a tough one as injuries forced him to miss half of the scheduled games. He was able to participate in the playoffs until he was sidelined in the club’s second game against the Pickering Panthers.
Owen still managed to put up 25 regular season points from the blueline. The team finished a close second in the West Division and then beat Georgetown and Burlington, both two straight, in the postseason before falling in three games to the Pickering Panthers who eventually progressed to the Centennial Cup final.
“I’ve played for (Head Coach) Dan Del Monte since my atom year, that’s 10 years so I am really familiar with this style and what he is looking for,” noted the well-spoken 19-year-old. “At our end of season banquet this year I was named as captain. We had a pretty good season, everyone was working hard and all the players bought into the system. It was great to finish in second place in our Division; we had a great battle with Burlington down the stretch, then we had two good playoff rounds against the (Georgetown) Raiders and the Cougars.”
“We had some guys pretty beat up when we played Pickering next but overall it was a good year. When I couldn’t play games in the regular season I was always there cheering on the guys, riding the stationary bike and trying to get back into game shape.”
“It will be my first year wearing the ‘C’. Last season we had great leaders in our captain Jordan Stock and Holden Rogers and I learned a lot from them. I want to pick up what they put down. I contributed a little bit in the room but now with the ‘C’ I am looking forward to making a much bigger contribution.”
(Other than Stock and Rogers, the Menace iced four more players in their last Junior season: goalies Carter Tahk and Ryan Dugas, defenceman Tyler Turpin and forward Andrew Horsley).
“Last season we played a very tenacious style and it worked well for us and we can look back and learn from it and build off it. I got some first unit powerplay time last season (he picked up 12 assists with the man-advantage) and I’m hoping that will continue. I see myself as a relatively simple player who likes to do the basics well. I always look to make smart plays on the ice. I like the physical side of the game too and I want to continue to develop in all areas.”
Owen has secured a commitment to NCAA Division I Yale University.
“I’ll be starting there in the fall of 2023. I’m interested in economics and hopefully I’ll follow that route but you do not have to declare until after the first year. I’ve been doing a lot of training in preparation for this season and that’s what I’m concentrating on now. I’ve managed to get out a bit with my friends on the golf course. I’m a better hockey player than golfer but it’s good to get out when I get the chance.”
Had Owen been able to put in a full regular season he would probably have exceeded the 50-point mark a feat that was accomplished by just two other defencemen in Pickering’s Brendan Tomilson (55) and Wellington’s Jonathan Balah (51). Good company indeed!
Milton Head Coach Del Monte on his on-ice leader:
“Owen’s commitment to improving his game is what sets him apart from others. It’s easy to say that hard work pays off but it’s harder to do year over year. He trusted the process and it has paid off for him and our team. Defensively there is none better, his angles and physicality are second to none in the league. He runs our power play and has great creativity as well. We are lucky to have him.”
Under the captaincy of Owen, the Menace will be looking to make their third season in the OJHL their best.
Follow Ron Valentine on Twitter @ronandlynda