The first time Bill Muckalt saw Owen Power play hockey, he was at a Toronto ice rink in 2017, looking for rookies for his Michigan Wolverines, and stood next to Jim Hughes. Hughes’ three boys, Quinn, Jack and Luke, included two future Wolverines and two future NHL first-round draft picks, the latter soon joining the club. But it wasn’t Luke, who played for the Toronto Marlboros, who caught Muckalt’s attention. It was that imposing kid from the Mississauga representatives.

“Who is this number 22?” Muckalt asked Jim Hughes. ” He is incredible. He reminds me of Chris Pronger.

“It’s Owen Power,” Hughes answered, turning to lead him a few yards from the ice rink lobby to Power’s parents.

“Well, your son has a full Michigan scholarship,” Muckalt told them.

Today, Muckalt laughs at that introduction. He left the rink confident that Power would take the OHL route, so when the family later returned to him, eager to consider the Wolverines instead, he was shocked.

“Well, damn, aren’t we lucky?” ” he says to him.

Now he knows he’s lucky after coaching Power in his freshman year at the University of Michigan, now seeing more of Victor Hedman than Chris Pronger in his student.

“I know those are high comparisons, but I mean, there is no doubt in my mind that he will be a No. 1-2 defenseman in the NHL for 15 to 20 years,” Muckalt said.

He is not alone in this belief either. Power left a lasting impression among the many spectators who watched his game, making him the top prospect for the 2021 NHL Draft and the top pick for the Sabers.

The first thing everyone was always struck by as they walked across the ice to watch the Mississauga reps was the size of number 22.


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