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Owen Beck And The Montreal Canadiens Are A Perfect Match



Owen Beck

MONTREAL — The first sign that Owen Beck had the potential to be a perfect fit in a market like Montreal took place before his 33rd-overall selection by the Canadiens at the 2022 Draft.

As Beck and a family member jumped into an Uber to make their way to the Bell Centre, a familiar linguistic impasse took place. The driver spoke French, and Beck’s family spoke English.

Fortunately for all involved, there was a solution sitting in the back seat.

Beck, a Port Hope, Ont. native, was quick to jump into action as a translator thanks to the knowledge he gained through his French immersion classes.

But his French connections go beyond his ability to navigate the linguistic intricacies of the market and the construction-laden streets of Montreal.

With the shadow of the suspended OHL season looming large over his draft stock, Beck needed to find a sheet of ice on which he could keep refining his high-end skill set, not to mention shake the rust that inevitably comes with long periods of inactivity, but he struggled to find any suitable rinks that would properly quench his training thirst, not to mention his affinity for being proactive.

Beck ended up taking the four-hour drive to Montreal, to train with players such as Alexis Lafrenière, with the bulk of his training taking place in Laval, at Place Bell.

He repeated the process the following season, spending several weeks in the city that hosted the team that would eventually call his name the following year at the 2022 Draft.

This dedication to improvement led to a bevy of teams, 28 to be exact, showing strong interest in the centre before the draft. The Montreal Canadiens’ historic rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs, were one of the teams that expressed the most interest in the talented prospect. The Leafs held the 25th overall pick at the 2022 Draft, roughly where most experts predicted Beck would be chosen.

They decided to alleviate their salary cap concerns instead, by sending their first-round pick to the Chicago Blackhawks along with goaltender Petr Mrazek in exchange for the 38th overall pick at the 2022 Draft.

Toronto’s loss was Montreal’s gain.

“He plays a very mature game,” said head coach Martin St.Louis.  “He doesn’t play like an 18-year-old.”

Beck not only fits the profile of an extremely intelligent player that has shown signs of progress and growth at every single level, but he also applies a cerebral approach off the ice that will serve him well in a hockey-mad market like Montreal.

He understands the importance of communicating in French, and though he doesn’t quite feel comfortable doing French-only interviews, his hesitance is born in respect for the language rather than a disdain for immersing himself in the local culture. He wants to improve upon his usage of la langue de Molière before he puts his knowledge into practice.

“We laughed about it at the Draft,” explained Beck’s Montreal-based agent, Dan Shakibaian. “He almost manifested this into reality. He’s been training here every summer, and now he’s in Montreal. It came full circle.”

As an 18-year-old, Beck’s impressive performance at training camp has placed him among the most promising prospects in the organization.

As an old soul, he’s already placed himself in a perfect situation to become a fan-favourite on a team that is desperately seeking heroes to celebrate as it prepares to write the next chapter of its illustrious history.

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