Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 3
 
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
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FLYING HIGH: Darroll Powe, left, chases down a puck during his career with the Princeton University men’s hockey team. Powe, a 2007 Princeton alum, was called up to the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League. The 5’11, 212-pound Powe, who served as team captain for the Tigers in his senior season, has a goal and an assist and 12 penalty minutes in 23 appearances for the Flyers.

Muscling His Way to the NHL, PU Alum Powe Playing for Flyers

Bill Alden

Darroll Powe is used to getting his way on the ice.

The burly 5’11, 212-pound native of Kanata, Ontario muscled his way up the hockey ladder, starring for the Kanata Stallions of the Central Junior A Hockey League before putting together a stellar career for the Princeton University men’s hockey team.

After scoring 60 points for the Tigers and serving as team captain his senior year, Powe joined the Philadelphia Phantoms in 2007, scoring four points in 11 games for the American Hockey League club.

Last winter, Powe played a full season for the Phantoms, the top affiliate for the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, and emerged as a key player, ending up with 23 points and 133 penalty minutes in 76 games.

Coming into this season, Powe had his sights set on making the big club and achieving his dream of playing in the NHL.

“Honestly my goal was to make the team,” said Powe, 23, in reflecting on his goal entering training camp last September. “If you don’t think that way you are never going to make it.”

Despite seeing a lot of playing time for the Flyers in the exhibition season, Powe didn’t get his way this time as he was sent back to the Phantoms.

“I was disappointed to be sent down but I knew I was close,” said Powe. “I got on the ice a lot in exhibition games; I had a good shot.”

Applying the blue collar work ethic that made him a role model for his Princeton teammates, it didn’t take long for Powe to get the call to the NHL.

In late October, the Flyers brought up Powe and he made his NHL debut on October 24 as Philadelphia played at New Jersey.

In character, the barrel-chested Powe relied on some physical play to help him deal with the butterflies he was feeling as he took the ice for his debut.

“It was wild, on my first shift, I was shaking,” recalled Powe. “I didn’t want to touch the puck; I just wanted to hit somebody.”

For Powe, it was fitting that his debut came in New Jersey, considering his ties to the Garden State and his admiration for the Devils.

“I had spent six or seven years in Jersey,” said Powe. “When I was growing up the Devils were my favorite team and Martin Brodeur was my favorite player. I got a shot on Brodeur in the game; that was great.”

It was also great that Princeton head coach Guy Gadowsky was in the building for Powe’s NHL debut.

“It was really important that he came; he has been such a big part of why I was playing there,” said Powe, noting that several of his former Tiger teammates came down from New York City for the game. “He was so excited for me; it shows how he cares about his players.”

Powe’s care for his craft helped him make an impact with the Phantoms and gain the confidence of the Flyers’ organization.

“I didn’t get much ice time in the beginning, I was on fourth line,” said Powe. “I started getting in on penalty kills. I started getting more ice time and I started to feel that I was contributing not just sticking with the team. I got a lot bigger role; the coaches really helped me out a lot.”

As Powe has tried to gain a foothold in the NHL, he experienced an early setback, suffering a concussion in his third appearance for the Flyers.

“It was a tough few weeks,” said Powe, who was an iron man during his Princeton career, playing 120 games for the Tigers. “I knew I just had to rest and heal. It isn’t bothering me at all now.”

Upon returning to action, Powe showed he was at full speed as he tallied his first career NHL goal, finding the back of the net on December 9 against the New York Islanders.

“I thought it would bounce off a pad or something like that,” said Powe with a chuckle.

“It came on a 3-on-2. I bounced in a rebound, I had an open net … it happened so fast that I almost didn’t know it happened. That was definitely fantastic.”

In recent weeks, Powe has developed a comfort level with NHL play.

“Before I was wrapped up with just playing in the NHL; looking at guys on the ice who I had always looked up to,” said Powe.

“Now I see that I have a job, I am just playing hockey. I am trying to look at it as pond hockey.”

Powe is ready and willing to play the bruising style that landed him a job in the NHL.

“I am there to do what they ask,” said the gap-toothed Powe, who has a goal and an assist and 12 penalty minutes in 23 appearances.

“I am a grinder. I need to work hard, be physical, and be defensively responsible and create some easy chances. I am getting on the ice more, I am looking to out compete guys and get pucks to the net.”

As he looks to make an impact for the Flyers, Powe is applying some of the lessons he learned during his time at Princeton.

“Guy stressed what it takes to be professional, it starts with work ethic and commitment,” said Powe, who is one of four Princeton alums in the NHL with George Parros ’03 playing on the Anaheim Ducks, Jeff Halpern ’99 on the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Kevin Westgarth ’07 having been recently called up by the Los Angeles Kings.

“But you can’t be a hockey player just the 60 minutes you are on the ice. It starts off the ice with taking care of yourself, eating right, training hard, and getting your rest. You are busy at school; the academics are tough and you learn how to manage time and manage your life.”

With the Flyers having advanced to the Eastern Conference finals last season and currently sitting third in the Atlantic Division, Powe believes he has a chance to achieve another life-long ambition.

“The goal is to win the Stanley Cup,” maintained Powe. “That has not changed since I started playing hockey. We have a strong team. Hopefully, I will be the second Princeton guy with the Cup, joining George [Parros]. Every guy is a great guy; it is a great team atmosphere. No one is bigger than the team.”

And with Powe bringing his work ethic to the Flyers, they could find their way to a title.

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