Nfld. & Labrador

'Pretty ecstatic': Marcus Power excited to come home to play pro hockey

With his degree in hand, the first player to sign with the Newfoundland Growlers is working hard over the summer and moving home to St. John's in the fall.

First player signed to the Newfoundland Growlers happy for a pro shot

Centre Marcus Power, who is originally from St. John's, is the first player signed to the Newfoundland Growlers. (Submitted by Ken O'Leary)

After four years playing at the University of Prince Edward Island, and with a degree in hand, St. John's native Marcus Power is excited to move back to his home province this fall to play for the Newfoundland Growlers.

"Getting this opportunity after getting my education is pretty exciting," Power told The St. John's Morning Show from P.E.I., where he's working — and working out — for the summer.

On July 12. Power, 25, became the first player signed to the Newfoundland Growlers, marking his professional hockey debut following a junior-hockey career before playing at the university level and earning a degree.

Power played for three seasons in the QMJHL with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies before his four years with UPEI, where he had 107 points (42 goals and 65 assists) over 110 games.

School, then the pros

After completing his degree in April, Power wanted to see if pro hockey was still an option for him.

"My parents both always [encouraged] me to get an education because you can't play hockey for the rest of your life, but at the same time I've always had the dream of trying to be a professional hockey player and seeing where my game can take me," he said.

Power skated in 30 games last season with the University of Prince Edward Island, and graduated from the university in the spring. (Submitted by Ken O'Leary)

"Seeing as there was a team coming home, it was almost a no-brainer to try to get the opportunity to play on the team."

Power was getting groceries when he got a text from his agent saying a one-year contract with the Growlers was in the works.

"I was pretty ecstatic, to say the least."

Working with Ryan Clowe

Power doesn't yet know who he'll be playing with. The team that will step onto the ice at Mile One Centre for their opening game Oct. 12 will include other ECHL-signed players as well as those with the AHL and even NHL who end up on the team, which has a development and affiliate program with the Toronto Maple Leafs, replacing the Orlando Solar Bears.

But one person with the Growlers won't be a stranger to him: head coach, and fellow Newfoundlander, Ryan Clowe. Power trained under Clowe for four or five years when he was playing junior, and during summers home in Newfoundland, he said.

"I got to kind of get to know him on a personal level and see the work ethic he used to put in as a player," Power said.

"Now that he was an assistant coach in the NHL this year you can tell that he really puts the work in as a coach as well, so I'm really excited to get to play underneath him."

In the lead-up to that opening game, Power is working in P.E.I., playing a bit of golf and trying to enjoy summer while also skating and training with a group of other players.

Power says he'll be all ready to go when he moves home to start with his new team.

"I'm definitely putting the work in to have a big year and I'm really committed to that. This is only the start, so hopefully big things can come from this."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from The St. John's Morning Show