Photo and story by Bryan Wilson
Since joining the club back in mid-October, Brooks Bandits forward Owen Cole has been making the most of his time with his new team.
The former captain of the Ottawa Junior Senators was acquired by the Bandits during the 2020 AJHL exhibition season in a trade, and has since played 10 games with the team, registering 8 points (6G and 2A) in that span which included 2 regular season games. The seamless transition to Brooks has been evident both on and off the ice, something which Cole credits to the Bandits organization, in particular, his billets and his teammates.
“I was really excited to come play here, I knew a little bit about (Brooks) before coming here, I?ve been out here before,? expressed Cole.
?The transition was pretty good, everybody made me feel comfortable right away. My billets, a lot of the guys on the team, they just welcomed me with open arms, and I thought it was a pretty good transition for me.?
Even after the league pause sent most players home, Cole continued to skate with a few of his teammates for as long as he was able, working with the coaching staff both on and off the ice for an additional two weeks, until further government restrictions were announced, ultimately closing arenas across the province. According to Cole, the off-ice preparation that was conducted with the coaching staff early in the preseason helped to identify opportunities for development, which enabled the 20-year-old to focus on strengthening key areas of his game during the league pause.
“We did player evaluations with (assistant coach) Evan McFeeters at the beginning of the season, so for me a lot of the focus has been my first three strides and my shooting, two things I really want to improve, so everyday we?ve been incorporating that into the skate,? Cole explained. “I think for me I was really focusing on skating because at the next level it?s a big deal to beat those first three steps and be a shooting threat more often.?
Cole (Dunnville, ON) and the rest of his teammates have been training at home over the holiday break, while the 2020-21 Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) season is currently on pause.
He?s committed to UMass-Lowell (NCAA Div.1) for the 2021-22 season.