â€œWeâ€™ve saved the best for lastâ€ â€“ Owen
From the Lancashire Telegraph
Jared Owen is preparing to make his last appearance for Blackburn HAWKS on Saturday, but he is proud to be bowing out on a high.
Owenâ€™s class of 2014/15 will parade their double trophy haul during Saturdayâ€™s 25-year anniversary game against a team of Hawks Legends (face-off 5.45pm).
It promises to be another emotional occasion for the player-coach, who is stepping down after five years in charge.
The double winning HAWKS will face a team of Blackburn Legends on Saturday celebrating the club’s 25th Anniversary.
But after guiding Hawks to their first league title in the clubâ€™s history, then winning the Moralee Division One North play-offs, he says his last season has been his best.
â€œIt is by far the best season of hockey Iâ€™ve been involved with in my career,â€ said Owen. â€œItâ€™s a nice way to finish. It hit me a little bit when the buzzer went at the end of the play-off final.
â€œIt hasnâ€™t sunk in that I wonâ€™t be defending the title. But it has been the perfect ending to my own career and my time at Blackburn.
â€œThe lads have made it easy. Eighty per cent of the team have been there since I started. Every season weâ€™ve tinkered a little bit and with what we added last year I knew we were more than good enough to win the league. When we signed Luke Brittle I felt we had added the pace we had probably been missing. Combined with his brother, Adam, who we signed the year before, we had the two top scorers in the league and the two best players in the league.
â€œIt gave us the edge. It still ended up being easier than I thought it would be at times, but thatâ€™s credit to the players. Theyâ€™ve really stepped up when itâ€™s mattered.
â€œBillingham came second and we won all seven games against them, including the play-off final.â€
Owen added: â€œIâ€™m proud of what the players have done. Weâ€™ve dug in all year, and it was the same during the play-off weekend. In the game against Sheffield Spartans we went up but let them back into it. We could have collapsed, but thatâ€™s not what this team has been about this season.â€
Daniel Mackriel, an experienced player who Owen signed for the club three years ago, has the unenviable task of trying to repeat this yearâ€™s feats having been named as his successor.
But Telford-based Owen, who was named coach of the year, believes it is possible.
â€œI think theyâ€™ve got every chance of being as successful as they have been this year,â€ he said.
â€œThere is a strong core of players there and they are more than capable.â€