As the Fighting Saints have hit the halfway point in the season, we have hit the halfway point in our Affiliate Spotlight feature. The Fighting Saints continue to draft young talented hockey players that fans will likely see in Dubuque sooner rather than later. Next on our list is another Fighting Saint who recently came to Dubuque for an affiliate visit. Owen Baumgartner, a defenseman from Owatonna, Minnesota spent January 2nd-5th with Dubuque. During his brief stay with the Saints, we had a chance to sit down with Owen and talk to him about his hockey experience growing up, his hopes for the future and what his visit in Dubuque was like.
What was your first hockey memory?
“My first hockey memory is probably playing hockey with my neighborhood friends and kids on my street. I remember doing that when I was pretty young and I think that is what got me hooked so quickly.”
When did you really start pursuing hockey seriously?
“My first team I played for was in second grade, I was playing up with the fifth graders on the Squirt B Team. I would say Peewee AA, which was the year before I went to Shattuck St. Mary’s. That’s when I started to realize I could really make something out of hockey.”
Take us through what changed when you realized that.
“I definitely did a lot more extra stuff than I had been doing before. Obviously I had been doing a lot, whether it was starting to lift or eat a little better or practice more. But I just did even more of that when I started taking it really seriously.”
How’s the experience been here with Dubuque?
“It’s really been awesome. It’s a great locker room and a great group of guys. It’s been a lot of fun visiting for the last few days.”
What’s been one of your favorite hockey memories?
“I would say my first game at Shattuck was one of the cooler hockey memories I have. It was up in Winnipeg against RHA Academy and it was just a lot of fun to be a part of and a really cool experience.”
What are one or two goals for you hockey wise in the next year?
“I would say I really want to work on my defensive game more. I just transitioned from forward back to defense so I definitely have to work on transitioning and moving the puck up quicker.”
Has transitioning back at forth from defense to forward while you move up levels been difficult?
I mean it definitely makes it a little difficult because you have to get used to the position over and over again. But, playing forward it really helped my offensive side of the game so that was a big positive. I really like defense though and I feel a lot more comfortable there.”
What was your feeling like when the Fighting Saints drafted you?
“It was awesome. I was kind of surprised to be picked by them because I hadn’t really talked to them prior to the draft, but it was really cool to be selected by them. I’ve been able to experience a Main Camp here, but back then I was playing forward still so it’s a bit different now.”
Stanley Cup prediction?
“That’s a hard one. I guess I would say Toronto. I don’t know, I just have a gut feeling. I think maybe they play Nashville. They’ve been really good the last few years.”
What’s one thing you’ve learned while being here with the Fighting Saints?
“Well I’ve learned a lot staying with Simon since he’s from Sweden. Definitely learned a lot of new stuff.”
“Well, he talked about how there is only one KFC in Sweden.”