Owen Baumgartner has been a name that was synonymous with solid player from Owatonna. That all changed late last Summer at the YHH PeeWee Challenge in Bloomington. A young man approached me on the first night, "who is Owen Baumgartner?" To which I added that he was from Owatonna and he could really play. To which this young man said, "oh yeah, he's the best guy on the ice...by far."
That caught our attention, and then more and more seasoned eyes weighed in with more praise for the seventh grader from Owatonna. That first game of the PeeWee Challenge he scored three goals for the Wolverines. Fans couldn't take their eyes off of his play against the best players in the state.
Owen Baumgartner scores Sunday against Duluth East
After a strong performance at the PeeWee Challenge, Owatonna came out of the blocks fast this season beating bigger and more seasoned associations like Chaska Chanhassen, Eagan and Andover. The Huskies have shown they can skate with just about every team in the state. This past weekend, they lost in the championship to Duluth East in the Cottage Grove Wolfpack Invite. They skated to tie with White Bear Lake, beat Andover and Bloomington Jefferson before being stopped in an exciting game to East. As a result of their win of the Huskies, East moved to number eight in YHH's top ten.
Owen Baugmartner scores earlier this year against Eagan
Last year, Matt Gleason from St. Paul, had a very similar breakout season as a second year player. Gleason and his team went on to win the PeeWee A state title in Lakeville. There are similarities between the two teams. The Capitals and Huskies have a star player, with a very unheralded supporting cast.
Owen Baumgartner, Owatonna
The Caps had stars like Jack Nei and Adam Zukowski that were great. The Huskies have Wyatt Oldefendt and Dominic Valento that really compliment Baumgartner's speed and strength. Winning a PeeWee AA title may be a stretch for the Huskies, but a trip to Grand Rapids for the state tournament is very realistic. Who knows, a core this good could make a run in Section 1AA at the high school level in a few years???
No matter the comparisons, one thing is for sure about Baumgartner. He has amazing power as a skater, passer and shooter. One PeeWee AA coach said of him last weekend, "there isn't a better player in the state!" Another District 8 coach said candidly, "he is fun to watch, especially in space..."
Best player is difficult to judge, but no doubt he helps his team win games. The more the Huskies win, the more people will get to know who "Owen Baumgartner is."