Editor's Note: We'll be running features on members of the Wilmington boys hockey team daily in advance of Sunday afternoon's Division 2 state championship game between the Wildcats and Franklin at TD Garden. Puck drops at 3:30 p.m.
If you’re looking for Cam Owens after a Wilmington win, he isn’t hard to find. Just follow the music.
The junior forward is the designated DJ for the Wildcats, carrying around a portable speaker that blasts out tunes as the team loads onto the bus. It’s a tradition that Owens started earlier in the season, and it’s continued after every playoff victory.
“We all take the game serious, but you have to joke around and have a little fun,” said senior captain Dalton Rolli about Owens’ traveling tunes. “We’re all having a good time, and that’s what it’s all about. It’s about having fun and trying to win every game, and we’ve been doing it so far.”
But Owens isn’t only important to Wilmington in the chemistry department. He’s a critical cog for the team on the ice as a top line player.
Last year during his sophomore campaign, Owens blazed through Cape Ann League competition. He racked up highlight reel goals and was far and away the team’s top offensive threat.
When Wilmington switched to the Middlesex League, the highlight real goals weren’t as easy for Owens to accomplish. The higher level of competition meant the junior’s gaudy numbers were limited, though he still had a successful season.
In the playoffs, Owens found his groove as Wilmington faced Cape Ann opponents for three straight tilts. Then in the , he impacted the game in other ways.
On , Owens caused havoc defensively in the neutral zone and forced a turnover, then assisted on the tally with a beautifully timed pass.
“He’s put a little more emphasis on moving the puck, which is a benefit for him,” said head coach Steve Scanlon. “He’s clever like that. He has a gift from the hockey gods, with a little bit of a sixth sense about passing and where people are. If you’re playing with him, you’d better keep your stick on the ice because he can find people in traffic.”
While the team is soaring right now as they await Sunday’s game against Franklin in the TD Garden, it wasn’t all good news for Owens this year.
He missed the first five games of the season for off ice reasons, something he said he has learned a valuable lesson from.
“It was a big thing,” said Owens. “I had to work through it, work harder to get ready for the beginning of the season. I tried to keep it out of the locker room and just work around it. I knew I had to just try and pick up where I left off last year.”
Rolli said he’s excited to see the way his teammate responded to the adversity he faced.
“He knew right after it happened that he made a mistake,” said Rolli. “He’s grown from it. You can see that. I didn’t want to see him go down a bad track. In a way, it was a good thing that it happened to him because he really grew from it. He’s become a much more mature kid.”
On the ice, Owens is a headache for opposing coaches to deal with. Franklin head coach Chris Spillane couldn’t name Owens off the top of his head while discussing Sunday’s game, but one of the first things he added was, “No. 8 is the guy who sets the pace.”
Linemate and classmate Jake Rogers said playing with Owens has been beneficial for him as well since Owens’ creativity means open looks and breakaways for Rogers.
As for Sunday, Owens’ patented speaker will make the trip to Boston. If the Wildcats are able to take home the first state title in school history, you can expect to hear the sounds reverberating through the TD Garden hallways.
“Cam is insane in the locker room,” said Rogers. “It gets us going.”