A Hay River goaltender has the opportunity to develop his skills in what is known as Northern Ontario.
Latitude may not meet the definition of “North” in the Northwest Territories, but Owen Pettipas appears to match his teammates on the Kapuskasing Midget AAA Flyers. The 16-year-old served as a substitute goaltender for six weeks in what is largely a hockey town.
Pettipas played U18 at Hay River. He was linked to the temporary concert by StÃ©phane Millette, Hay River Recreation Director and President of the Hay River Minor Hockey Association, from Kapuskasing, nearly 850 kilometers north of Toronto.
âOwen is a great local boy and a really good athlete who was looking to push himself further to see if he could play hockey at a higher level of the game,â said Millette. âHe’s been helping the team (Flyers) for a few weeks now when their starting goalie is injured. Owen had his first start in goal (November 28) and he earned the second star of the game.
Millette said he and the Pettipas family are looking for opportunities to open doors for the young player and that he hopes this will help develop his skills and experience in the sport.
âAt a minimum, we think it gives Owen a sense of what this level of play and practice involved day in and day out means and what he needs to work on,â Millette said. âSo at a minimum it can help him develop that way and get a better idea of ââwhether he wants to continue that level of play or if he prefers the opportunities that are offered in the NWT and our systems here. . “
Owen’s dad, Keith said he owed his son’s opportunity to play in the team to Millette’s connections and that this new opportunity is the natural next step for the goalkeeper to progress.
Over the past few years, Owen has spent a lot of time on the ice and been exposed to older players on the Hay River U18 team which is part of the four-team recreational league.
âOne thing about playing Hay River is that he gets a lot of ice time,â Keith said. âHe can play at a higher level because he plays with older people. When he was in town last year, for example, he was able to play recreational hockey and he helps the alumni if ââthey need a goalie or if they run out.
Now being able to play in a more established league, Keith said it would be extremely beneficial for Owen’s conditioning.
âIt’s the whole experience for a 16 year old to go out and be in a program there that is basically run like an NHL franchise,â Keith said.
âYou have your ice time every day. You get your workouts every day. You get your meetings every day after games. Every day there is ice time, including weekends. This includes games up to three days a week.
âHe also has the opportunity to meet new people and learn new ways of running their organizations,â added Keith.
Keith said he and his family were also able to track any events he attended through an app called TeamSnap. They also watch all the games through another app called Hockey TV.
âSo even if they’re on the road, I can watch the games right on my TV,â he said.
Keith said that after Owen returned for the New Year, he wanted his son to focus on schooling, but he believes there are many opportunities for further development. The family have received an offer for the young goalie to play Junior B at Fairview, but are looking more towards next year’s trials for the 2023 Arctic Winter Games, which will be held in Wood Buffalo.