Captain Cal Off To Arkansas

by Ron White

The Long Beach Bombers are proud to announce that Captain Cal Owens has committed to the University of Arkansas. A two-year captain from Calgary, Alberta, Owens completed his Bombers career with 22 Goals, 31 Assists, and 293 Penalty Minutes in 85 Games Played. His teams were the first Long Beach squads to win back-to-back Western Division Championships, as well as the 2016-2017 team being the first to earn a WSHL Regular Season title with 93 points.

 

Owens arrived as a center in 2015, and was immediately a physical and emotional presence to the roster. After a 25-point debut in Long Beach (47 games played), Owens backed it up with 23 points in just 27, while playing defense. The captain also added 5 points in the post-season, this year. His versatility both positionally, and in style of play, will be an asset to the Razorbacks program.

 

University of Arkansas Head Coach, Brian Gallini, commented, “We're ecstatic to once again work with the Bombers by, in this case, adding another exceptional player and young man.  We saw in Cal a versatile team-first player who could, based on the needs of our team, play where needed.  Along the way, it’s clear that Cal brings an aggressiveness to his overall game, a game that balances offensive ability with defensive responsibility.  His service as two-year captain likewise foretells tremendous leadership potential at the college level.”

 

Long Beach Bombers Head Coach & General Manager, Chris White, added, “This signing is really special for not only our organization, but me, personally. I had the opportunity to really watch Cal mature, over the course of 18-19 months. I hope he continues on the path of self-development, and if he does, I am certain he will have a positive impact on the Razorbacks hockey program’s history. His selflessness to move from forward to defense was one of the biggest forces in our overall success. We were really hurting, at the time, and he gave us a dominant presence back there, while adding offense in the process. Cal’s teams represent the most successful period of hockey in the Bombers 23-year history, and have set the bar for years to come. We will certainly miss having Cal in the lineup, next year, and the support of the entire Owens family. It’s very exciting for us to have several players all moving on to the same school and team. We will be rooting for the Razorbacks, while having high expectations for Cal and the rest of our players to represent the Bombers logo and family with professionalism and dedication. I am really happy that Cal is going to have this experience as a student-athlete at such a great university, within a hockey program that is building towards achieving big goals. It should be a familiar situation, for Cal, much like when he arrived to our organization in Long Beach, as we were on the cusp of becoming an elite franchise. He played a huge role in getting us over that hurdle, and I fully-expect him to do the same in Fayetteville. One of the things that I will miss most, is watching number 5 after a goal or a win. The passion and energy is unmatched.”

 

 

Cal’s Player Profile Page:

http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=208239

 

University of Arkansas Press Release:

http://arhockey.westernchl.com/?p=3636

 

  

Q & A with Cal Owens:

 

 

You spent two seasons (117 games) in Long Beach. Looking back on that time, what are some highlights that stand out?

 

It was the best two years of my life. I'll never forget the feeling when Jesper (Wallenholm) netted that OT goal to sweep Valencia in the Divisional Finals. It was a really cool experience making it all the way to the Thorne Cup Finals this year, and although we didn't win, there's no other group of guys I'd rather share that experience with. We won a lot of hockey games in those Bombers uniforms together and it was a cool feeling every time we picked up another W. Even when we lost, everyone would come together after the game and just make sure we would come out and win the next one. Not a lot of teams have that redeeming quality with such a tight knit group.

 

 

Away from the rink, what are some of your best memories over the past two years? 

 

I have so many I don't even know where to start... I'm going to miss the off days at the beach, and the off nights with the boys, for sure. But to me, the memory that I'll never forget was when Konnor (Madsen) and I brought Fil (Filip Jengard) and Bob (Robert Roslund) back to Calgary over Thanksgiving. That was when “Fil the Thrill” was truly born.

 

 

The Bombers had 14 players age-out, this year, including yourself. What are your expectations for the club next season, and in the years ahead?

 

I think the standard for Bombers hockey should be as high as it's ever been. Both years of my time with the Bombers we set a new expectation and ultimately, the Thorne Cup should be the only goal in mind. I think we have paved the path to show that the Bombers are a force to be reckoned with and shouldn't be taken lightly. It's a new day and age in the WSHL and some past dynasties are over their primes and the Bombers are on the rise, and should be recognized as a top contender for the Thorne Cup each year. With that being said I hope the Cup will make it's way to Southern California this upcoming season or in the near future.

 

 

Coach Gallini invited you to visit the University of Arkansas, recently. What were some of the things that helped you decide to commit to the Razorbacks hockey program?

 

It made it a little easier for me knowing that I had fellow Bomber teammates: Konnor, Max (Barr) and Sine (Chadi) committing, which would make the transition a little smoother. I went on my tour of campus and no one needed to sell me on anything, it was absolutely gorgeous. When coach Gallini talked to me about the Razorback D1 program being newer and wanting to set the standard and become a real contender for a National Championship, I thought a little bit of the Bombers. When I came, Chris really wanted to build a team that would contend for the Thorne Cup and that's exactly what we did. I think it's exciting to have that opportunity again, but this time win a National Championship.

 

As the first two-year captain of the Long Beach Bombers at the Junior A level, please take this last opportunity to address your former teammates, and future Bombers players. 

 

First off, thank you to everyone for making my time in California so enjoyable. The coaches, staff, billets (Dave & Janet Buffardi, Deena Piekarski, & the Borrmann family), and of course my teammates. We won a lot of hockey games together and set the new standard of Bombers hockey, even setting the WSHL (Tier-ll Jr A) record for regular season points. We might not have won the cup, but we did a lot of things we should still be really proud of. More importantly than the hockey games, I made friends, who turned into brothers, all across the world, whom I still talk to on an everyday basis. You guys will always hold a special place in my heart, and always have a home with me if you ever find yourself in Calgary! I know lots of people say their teammates turn from friends to brothers but I'm not sure I ever really knew what that meant until I joined the Bombers. It really is an honour, if you're lucky enough to put that Bomber sweater on and join the family, so don't take it for granted. In the blink of an eye, it'll be all over. So, take it all in while you can. Not every 16-20 something year-old kid gets to move to the beach to play for a top-notch hockey club. Pretty special. A little advice: don't have rookie party after coaches tell you not too, you will have an incredibly rough week of practice. Always make sure a North American has the aux cord (sorry Swedes). Last but not least, please finish what myself and all other players past have tried to do and bring the Thorne Cup to Southern California! Thanks for having me, Long Beach, and good luck in the future. Once a Bomber always a Bomber.