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Homer family wins NHL Most Valuable Hockey Family award

Published: Mar. 29, 2021 at 9:53 PM AKDT|Updated: Mar. 29, 2021 at 11:17 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Owen family of Homer has won the NHL Most Valuable Hockey Family award, adding another accolade to their trophy case right next to the Homer High School hockey team’s 2021 state championship trophy.

The NHL Most Valuable Hockey Family award is given out annually and is an opportunity to recognize outstanding parents, guardians, and mentors in the youth hockey community.

Chris Owen is a hockey coach in Homer along with his wife Joanna. The two got married after years of coaching with each other. Chris’s daughter Haylee Owen is no stranger to the ice either, having played hockey in Homer for several years, including on this year’s state championship team.

While the Owen family knew that one of their friends had submitted them for the award, they had no idea that they would actually be selected.

“No, absolutely not. I actually thought the guy was like a prank call,” Chris Owen said. “I really didn’t understand what he was talking about at first.”

“But then they called back and now I’m like, okay,” he said of getting the call from the NHL. “And then about 500 emails later, you know, our conversation with a couple of the pros, that was a pretty cool experience.”

Along with earning the bragging rights that come with being named the NHL Most Valuable Hockey Family of the year, the family got to chat with NHL legends Ray Bourque and Kris Draper while receiving the award via Zoom. Chris Owen said it was sort of surreal to get the chance to talk to hockey veterans. Joanna Owen added that it was really cool to hear how they are just normal people with many of the same hockey stories that her family has.

Hockey is not just a sport for the Owen family — it’s a way of life, with countless hours spent at the rink in Homer helping the next generation become better skaters and better people. Hockey also played match maker when it comes to Chris and Joanna.

“The biggest thing is really, that’s how we met was because of hockey and that’s how we both grew up was playing hockey,” Joanna Owen said. “So it’s just really kind of surreal and crazy, that was just something we just did when we were younger to get into skating becomes such a major part of our life. And I think just like anybody who really is involved in sports, you know, the hockey family is just a special family.”

The family said it is nice to be recognized for the work they do in the Homer hockey community, but that they don’t do it for accolades or awards; they do it because they love the game and they want to help grow the next generation’s love for the game as well.

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