The King is dead. Long live the King.
Well, not quite. But the departure of EIHL MVP Tyler Beskorowany from the Belfast Giants this Summer left perhaps the biggest pair of skates to fill in the entire league.
As reported on this week’s A View From The Bridge off season special- along with an exclusive interview- Steve Thornton, Adam Keefe and the Belfast Giants have their man.
Taking residence in the Giants cage this season is none other than Shane Owen.
The 29 year old, 6 foot 2 native of Markham, Ontario is no stranger to the Teal Army (or their wrath) having dressed in the colours of the Fife Flyers on two separate Elite League campaigns, before leaving the Kirkcaldy side this past week for pastures new in Northern Ireland.
Owen earned his stripes in the Major Junior Ontario Hockey League with the Erie Otters, with a short stint in Quebec (where he won his only major Championship to date) before his first pro season in the ECHL.
In 2010/11 Owen bounced between the Florida Everblades (whose recent alum include Kevin Raine and David Rutherford), the South Carolina Stingrays and a loan spell with the Hershey Bears.
In fact, his first few pro seasons looked very similar. The well travelled Owen didn’t really settle until 2013/14, when a full season with the CHL’s Missouri Mavericks provided the first real indication of what he could produce when provided with plenty of ice time.
A 2.58 GAA and .917 SV % across 52 league games was good enough for another run at the ‘Coast.
But history was to repeat itself, and Owen finally made the decision to leave for Europe, landing on the East Coast of Scotland and posting a regular season 3.41 GAA and .908 SV % in 52 GP.
Again, a settled and confident Owen had produced, and a more lucrative offer from Sweden’s Karlskoga tempted him North for a short spell in 2017/18.
On his eventual return to Fife last season (after finishing up his last campaign with recent Giants foes GKS Katowice, where he played briefly alongside Patryk Wronka) Head Coach Todd Dutiaume made no mistake in the media about how much of a loss was felt by his departure, and how he was a main target during off season recruitment.
And when Owen began that season, Dutiaume and the Fife faithful once again saw what they had known all along.
This guy was good.
Like, really good.
In fact, as per Giants Statistician Stephen Thompson, Owen was statistically the best netminder Adam Keefe’s men encountered last season- facing a total of 319 shots and allowing only 23 goals, good for a .931 SV %.
Would be a cracking signing if true. Stats speak for themselves, a pain in the ass to play against.
Owen was statistically the best Netminder Giants faced last season – we fired 319 shots against him – scoring 23. SVS – 0.931%
— Stephen Thompson (@BFG14) June 11, 2019
In an exclusive interview with Davy McGimpsey on this week’s AVFTB Off Season Special (listen in full below), Owen was obviously excited at the prospect of a new challenge in Belfast;
“I am excited to get started in Belfast and play in the Champions League with the Giants. I spoke to Adam Keefe and I am looking forward to training camp in August that will set us up well for the season”
“As long as I put the work in and get prepared to play- I want to go out and give my team a chance to win on every night. Having played against the Giants for a number of years- I am well aware of how great the city of Belfast is and how passionate the fans are.”