Manitoban Owen Murray is comfortably settled in and enjoying life as a member of the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League. Already 14 games into the extended BCHL preseason, the 17-year-old made things even easier on himself late last week, as he officially put pen to paper on his National Letter of Intention with the University of Massachusetts.
Having verbally committed back in mid-February, the Decker product finalized his contractual obligations with the NCAA’s Division I UMass Minutemen on Thursday, to which he will travel south and attend schooling in the United States’ east coast beginning in the fall of 2021.
“The professionalism here is through the roof,” Murray told Game On with regards to his decision to sign with UMass. “Everything is run properly and guys are insanely committed to playing at the next level. Everybody here wants to succeed and really wants to win. From the top to bottom it is just an awesome spot to play in; I couldn’t have asked for anything else coming out here, especially with the type of year that it has been.”
“It’s really exciting,” Murray added. “I am just beyond excited for the opportunity, considering the great coaching staff and the pedigree of players that have come out of UMass in the past few years. It is really exciting to make it official and lock myself in to go there, that’s for sure.”
Murray, a third-year CJHL defenceman, spent the past two seasons in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, suiting up for the Portage Terriers. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound blueliner first hopped on the scene following a solid AAA U-15 season with the Yellowhead Chiefs. He then joined the RINK for one season of Canadian Sport School Hockey League play, before moving out to Portage.
With the Terriers, Murray put up a combined 13 goals and 67 points in 85 total MJHL games, including a 30-game showing in 2019-20, to which he put up four goals and 26 points. He earned an MJHL championship and Anavet Cup in 2019, while also experiencing the National Junior ‘A’ Championship. He missed parts of the 2019-20 season due to his participation as a member of Canada West at the World Junior ‘A’ Championship this past Christmas.
Murray was dealt out west to Penticton in late-August in exchange for future considerations, where he has already suited up in more than a dozen preseason contests, as the BCHL continues to play out an extended exhibition season, before league hopes to get regular season play underway in December. Skating in all 14 of his team’s preseason games, Murray has scored one goal, while registering 12 points and six power play points – which paces all BCHL defencemen – while sitting fourth in points on his team.