It appears that chemistry won’t be a problem for the Belfast Giants next campaign as, along with the eight players already confirmed to be returning from last season’s roster, they now have three more who are certainly familiar with each other.
The trio of Chad Butcher, Colby McAuley and Steven Owre are well acquainted having played for the Allen Americans during the 2020-21 campaign, where they were also team-mates of defenceman Sam Ruopp and centre Scott Conway, who both played for the Giants last season.
Butcher and McAuley join from the Americans after spending another season in the ECHL, while Owre moves to the Giants after a year in France with Cergy-Pontoise.
And the latter is thrilled to get the chance to link up with his former team-mates again, in particular Butcher, who is one of his best friends having both represented the Medicine Hat Tigers, the University of Alberta and the Americans.
“It was roughly about the same time that we signed — we like to think we’re a package deal!” laughed 26-year-old Owre.
“The familiarity is there, we work well together, have great chemistry together, we think the game very similarly. It’s exciting to get the chance to play with him again.
“We’ve played together in juniors all the way through, so he’s been one of my best friends since I was about 16-years-old.
“And Colby, Sam... it is going to be a bit like a reunion and I got on really well with those guys, so I’m really looking forward to playing with them again.”
Last season was Owre’s first in Europe as he scored 22 goals and 48 points in 46 games for Cergy, and he’s happy he took the plunge and left North America.
“My numbers did take a jump last season but, at the same time, I think the previous year in the ECHL there was a bit of an adjustment. Because of Covid our final college season got cancelled and we had to acclimatise to pro,” he explained.
“But the European style suits my game a lot more. I like to play fast and with a lot of skill, I like to make plays and put the puck in the net. The bigger ice definitely plays a factor in that.”
Meanwhile, the Giants have confirmed that centre Slater Doggett will not be returning to the team next season.