He is a current Thunderbird and a future Laker and he is inching towards a return to active duty.
It’s been two months — almost to the day — since Owen Headrick underwent shoulder surgery and the likeable youngster from Garden River First Nation is on the road to recovery.
To be sure, Headrick, a 1997 birth-year defenceman who is in his second season with the Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League, reports that the shoulder is healing well.
“I just got clearance from the doctor that I can start skating,” said the bluechip blueliner who has a future commitment to play for the Lake Superior State University Lakers of the Division 1, National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Headrick chose LSSU and the college route despite being pressured by general manager Sherry Bassin to sign with the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League.
At any rate, the slick, skilled, smart, sturdy defender added that there is no definite timeline as to when he will return to the Thunderbirds this 2014-2015 NOJHL season.
“I hope to be back before the start of the playoffs,” Headrick revealed. “It all depends when I am 100 per cent healthy.”
In the meantime, the Grade 12 St. Mary’s College student is focusing on his studies, staying in shape by riding the exercise bike daily and hanging out at various arenas most nights of the week watching his two younger brothers and two younger sisters play hockey.
“There’s always a game to watch,” smiled the likeable Headrick, a shy youngster who has become more comfortable with the media of late.
Despite the injury and the subsequent shoulder surgery that has already sidelined him for a good part of this season, Headrick remains determined to begin his collegiate career at LSSU next fall even though he still has three seasons of junior eligibility remaining after this one.
“That’s my goal, to be a Laker starting next season,” said Headrick.
Lakers head coach Damon Whitten said it is not yet etched in stone when Headrick will begin playing at LSSU.
“We’ll have to see, what with the injury and when he comes back,” said Whitten. “We don’t want to rush Owen. He’s still young and you have to remember that there are players in our league 22 and 23 years old.”
Regardless of when Headrick debuts at LSSU, Whitten said he is looking forward to it.
“We have seen him play for the Thunderbirds and we saw him last summer scrimmaging with the pro players. He already plays a National Hockey League-style game,” Whitten smiled. “Owen is a really good kid from a really good family (that includes mom Anne and dad Dave) and he has so much potential as a hockey player that it’s almost scary.”
PHOTO: Soo Thunderbirds defenceman Owen Headrick has a signed commitment to play for the Lake Superior State University Lakers down the road. (Photo by Ali Pearson.)