From Altrincham to Austria

Equipment Manager David 'Dease' Owen will be there to help pal Bowns in his transition to life in Graz (PHOTO: Scott Wiggins)

When there was speculation that someone from Cardiff would be destined for a crack in Europe, little did we know it wouldn’t be Ben Bowns we would be talking about.

Manchester Storm’s equipment manager, David Owen, better known to everyone as ‘Dease’ is off to Austria where he is taking up an offer to work for EBEL side, Graz 99ers.

And with Doug Mason’s side set to face Cardiff Devils in the Champions Hockey League, Dease admits it didn’t occur to him he would going home so soon until he did some research on his new employers.

“I actually didn’t pay any attention to the draw at the time because Manchester weren’t involved so I wasn’t that interested,” he laughed.

“To be honest, I was more interested in Belfast because I have many friends over there and ‘Taff’ (Giants equipment manager Jason Ellery) is one of my best friends. But it was only when I started talking to Graz and explored their website when I noticed a link with Cardiff’s logo on it.

“That was when I realised I would be going back.  I head to Graz on 25th July and we fly back to Cardiff at the end of August so I’ll be away a month before I’m back to see everyone again.

“It’s very surreal knowing I’ll be coming back to Cardiff, to my boyhood club where I played as a junior and then where I played and worked at senior level.

“It’ll be great for my kids to come to the game as they’re still there with their mum, plus my parents too so it’s nice to look forward to that.”

There’s no doubt it’s a chance of a lifetime for the 37-year-old, who is putting his expertise in dealing with equipment and knowing what to take to good use as he and his girlfriend, Gwennan, get themselves packed and ready for a new life in Austria, downsizing and selling what they can before they go.

But how did a Welshmen working in Manchester end up being offered a job with the team who finished second in EBEL last season?

Dease explains: “A friend of mine, who I used to play with in Cardiff and we kept in touch, he messaged me at the end of the season to tell me there were some teams looking for equipment guys on the continent and said Graz was one of them.

“He asked if he could put my name forward, unless there were any issues so I said there wasn’t and didn’t think anything more of it.  It’s a pipedream and you don’t see British guys getting these opportunities.

“A week ago, I had a phone call from their coach, Doug Mason and we talked then their GM messaged me looking to talk the next day.  I’d convinced myself that was going to be the gentle let down, then the next thing you know, I’m offered a contract and flights are booked.  It was all done and dusted.

“Some of the things they asked was regarding what I did, planning, how I manage my time and asked me about different situations I’d been in and overcome.  Plus being involved with championship teams in Cardiff and going to the CHL stood me in good stead.

“I’ve done the foreign trips on my own with no assistance so it was basic questions about my experience so it was interesting and I’m delighted to get the opportunity.

Dease will be back in hometown Cardiff with his new team in August (PHOTO: Victoria Schofield)

“Funnily enough, being prepared and knowing what to pack is exactly what I’m doing now before I go.  It’s a case of downsizing everything as we’ve had all the stuff going from Cardiff to Manchester.

“In the last week, we’ve been selling random bits of furniture on Facebook local pages to go to Austria and knowing what to take.”

He admits it’s all been something of a whirlwind since being offered and accepting the job last week and Dease says it’s still a shock that he’s landed the gig.

And he revealed one of the concerns he had that he quizzed his new coach, Doug Mason, on when they spoke, which was quickly put at ease.

He added: “The opportunity is massive and it’s surreal to think I’ve managed to land a job like that.  To get the interview was amazing, but getting the job was a shock. I’m still in shock, but I’m excited for the adventure ahead.

“Who knows, it could be something that leads to other things, but if it doesn’t pan out that way, I can always say I did it.

“The good news for me is I don’t have to throw myself into learning the language straight away.  It was one of the first things I asked the coach.

“It’s all English in the dressing room so as long as I can do that, I’m okay.”

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