On Tuesday, Team Canada got its first committed player for the men’s hockey team at the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Owen Power, drafted No. 1 overall by the Buffalo Sabres at the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, is set to suit up for his first-ever Olympic Games at the age of 19. The Mississauga, Ontario native defenseman most recently played for Canada at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship, where he became the first Canadian defenseman in history to record a hat trick at the tournament.
Another Chance for Power to Wow His Country on the World Stage
Power’s first-ever World Juniors experience was cut short just three days into the tournament, on Dec. 29, due to the spread of COVID-19. Only playing two games before being shut down, he managed to record an incredible five points (three goals, two assists), good for first among defensemen in the tournament and tied for second among skaters. In his World Juniors debut, he scored a hat trick, something no Canadian defenseman ever managed to accomplish before him.
It is terrible news that the World Juniors was canceled, as Power was just getting started on an incredible tournament for him. Thankfully, this new opportunity at the Olympic Games will provide him another chance to wow his country just over a month later. All eyes will be on Power as he leads the new era of elite Canadian defensemen.
He joins Canada’s Olympic men’s hockey team amid an incredible sophomore NCAA season with the Michigan Wolverines, with whom he has 23 points (three goals, 20 assists) in 18 games. The Wolverines will certainly miss him, but he will be back in time for the postseason.
Power Has an Incredible International Hockey Résumé for His Age
Diehard fans of international men’s hockey have likely heard Power’s name before, as he was a member of Canada’s gold medal-winning team at the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. He posted three assists in 10 games, playing as an 18-year-old amongst full-grown men. Power is clearly a very special talent, and Canada will surely benefit from having him on its Olympic roster.
As always, Canada has its eyes on winning gold at the Olympics. If Power helps lead his country to glory again, this time on the Olympic stage, he has a chance to be a two-time gold medalist as a teenager among men, something the vast majority of hockey players will never be able to say. He is a must-watch player for Canadian hockey fans, and he’ll surely make his country proud, no matter the team’s fate.
Power will likely make his Olympics debut on Feb. 10, when Canada is scheduled to take on Germany in its opening game of the preliminary round. Canada will compete in Group A with USA, China and Germany, which is sure to provide some fun hockey games.
Power Expected to Make NHL Debut With Sabres Next Season
Power’s outstanding play with Michigan and Canada could soon lead to his NHL debut with the Sabres. Ahead of the 2021-22 NHL season, there was discussion whether or not Power was ready to make his debut in the big league this season or not. Ultimately, Power and Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams decided it would be best for him to return for another season at Michigan, which is proving to be a great decision so far.
“[The NHL] is a tough league, so I think the one mistake we don’t want to make is putting someone in a position that they’re just treading water,” Adams told ESPN. “We want them to be ready to play.”
Power is stepping up in big ways, both for the Wolverines and his home country of Canada. He is getting to live incredible experiences he may not have gained if he were in the NHL in 2021-22. It is easy to see why he was on the fence about where he would play this season with his immense success. As he continues building confidence and breaking records, expect him to don the Sabres’ royal blue and gold in the near future, likely for Buffalo’s opening game of the 2022-23 season.
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Tom Pepper is a diehard Montréal Canadiens fan, writing NHL and IIHF content at The Hockey Writers since 2020.