By Matt Stefano
His decision to play in the OHL did not come until the middle of January, but four months later, it turned out to be an experience of a lifetime.
Garden River, Ontario product and former Soo Thunderbirds defenceman Owen Headrick, who left the NCAA’s Lake Superior State Lakers to play for the OHL’s Erie Otters, helped the Otters win their first J. Ross Robertson Cup since 2002, as they eliminated the Mississauga Steelheads 4 games to 1 in the OHL finals.
“I love playing in Erie and I’m glad I made the decision to play for the Otters,” said Headrick.
Back in the 2014-2015 season, when Headrick missed 39 games due to an injury, he still managed to put up 13 points through just 13 regular season games, before helping the Thunderbirds to winning the Copeland Cup McNamara Trophy and the Dudley Hewitt Cup.
He was also named the NOJHL Playoff MVP and the Dudley Hewitt Cup Tournament’s Most Sportsmanlike Player.
Headrick, who was one of the top scoring defencemen on the Lakers this season, joined the Erie Otters for the final 26 regular season games, where he recorded 4 goals and 8 points.
He then set up 4 goals through 22 playoff outings.
“I had a great time at Lake State and met a lot of good people, but I was really happy with my decision to play in the OHL,” continued the Garden River, Ontario product. “One of the most important things I’ve learned is not to worry about the things you can’t control and don’t let your emotions get too high or too low.”
Headrick becomes just the fourth Soo Thunderbirds graduate to win the J. Ross Robertson Cup, joining Nathan O’Nabigon (2003, Kitchener Rangers), Kelly Thomson (2005, London Knights) and Jeff Whitfield (2005, London Knights).
“It’s pretty special to be apart of this,” continued the 19 year old. “I’m extremely happy that we won and that was one of my main reasons to come to Erie, and that’s because of how good my opportunity to win was.”
The 19 year old will now prepare for the Memorial Cup Tournament, which is being held in Windsor, Ontario from May 18th – 28th.
Headrick is just one of two former Soo Thunderbirds that will play in this year’s Memorial Cup Tournament, joining goaltender Mario Culina (Windsor Spitfires).
Headrick and Culina are also former teammates from the Soo Thunderbirds 2015 Dudley Hewitt Cup team.
“I’m pretty excited to get the chance to play against my old teammate,” concluded Headrick. “We are really good friends and we have always played on the same team growing up, so it will be pretty fun to get my chance to be able to play against my good friend and I’m excited to be there.”
(Photo credit to Dan Hickling/OHL Images)