Owen Wareham was an all-star with the Yellowhead Chiefs program and he certainly enjoyed representing the organization. After playing two seasons with the U-15 team, Wareham played the past three seasons with the U-18 team, one that was seen as a perennial powerhouse year after year.
In 151 games (including playoffs) with the U-18 Chiefs, Owen scored 33 times and he added 58 assists. Known as an offensive-defenceman, he prides himself on his play in his own end, and then he loves joining the rush offensively.
After he was drafted 35th overall in the 2017 MJHL U-15 Draft by Dauphin, Wareham has been looking to break his way into the Manitoba Junior Hockey League and he has now done that.
Owen was one of the most impressive players through training camp and the preseason which has earned him some heavy minutes on the back end in the first two games of the regular season.
The biggest change that Wareham has had to get used to this season is the amount of time in the rink and gym. With Yellowhead, the team would practice a couple of times a week and play on weekends. With Dauphin, the team practices every afternoon and also spends time in the gym on top of the team's games on weekends.
"It's all hockey here, that's the only focus. I honestly love it, I love playing this game, and practicing every day gives me a chance to improve and that's my goal," said Wareham.
Owen said these comments ahead of Dauphin's back-to-back games this weekend against the Waywayseecappo Wolverines. Saturday's game will be the fourth against the Wolverines in a matter of nine days. After this four-game slate against Wayway, Dauphin will play four straight games against the OCN Blizzard.
That's how the schedule works out as the league has gone to divisions with the Kings playing in the Northwest Division. In all, Wareham and the rest of the Kings will play Wayway, OCN, and Swan Valley eight teams in the regular season.
"It gives each one of those games like a playoff feel and the rivalry continues to grow between us and those teams," said Wareham. "I think it's a pretty cool setup and I believe the league has done a pretty great job of putting together a plan to play games."
It hasn't been all hockey for Owen at an elite level. The Rivers native is also an elite baseball player that has had the chance to represent Manitoba on the national stage. He played on Team Manitoba last summer -- a team that played in the Canada Cup in Regina -- with the team going 4-3. Wareham went 1-for-4 from the plate and he also drove one run in against Alberta. He visited colleges that were interested in what he has to offer; however, hockey was ultimately what he chose. That's the opposite of what Noah Geekie chose as the Strathclair native decided to play elite baseball instead of hockey.
"It came down to crunch time in the past year, I really had to decide," said Wareham. "When it came down to it, I knew this is where I wanted to be. Either option would have been a win-win, but I feel this is my best option and I'm really glad that I'm getting a chance to play with a great organization."
Chad Facey and Owen Wareham have gotten to know each other very well over the years. Facey coached Wareham in his final year of U-15 hockey with the Chiefs in the 2016-2017 season.
He also coached Owen for the three years following with the U-18 team and now, the duo has reunited in Dauphin as Chad is an assistant coach on Doug Hedley's staff which includes Jayson Argue and Brad Dupasquier.
"He has definitely made the transition to this team a lot easier and I'm really grateful for that," ended Wareham. "It's been really great and I'm happy that he's here."
Get to know Owen:
What's your favourite hobbies? Golf and baseball
What's your favourite pregame meal? Chicken and rice
What's your favourite NHL team? Washington Capitals
What's your favourite MLB team? Toronto Blue Jays
What's your favourite song? Diamond in my pocket by Cody Johnson
Cheat meal? Pizza
Where do you want to travel to? Banff. I've been there before and I would love to go back.