DETROIT - Six-year-old Owen Provencher was the center of attention at Red Wings practice Thursday. He warmed up like a pro. He shot like a pro. He scored like a pro.
All of it, a dream come true for this California kid, who's been a Red Wings fan since birth.
"When Owen was 18 months old, we heard Jimmy Howard and the Wings were playing in San Jose, so we all got tickets," Owen's mom, Heidi Provencher said. "We were surprised an 18-month-old sat through a whole game. Since then, he's been a die-hard Red Wings fan and Jimmy fan."
So naturally, when Make a Wish Foundation approached Owen, everyone knew his wish would involve the Red Wings.
Thursday his wish came true when he got to dress in the Red Wings locker room, skate with the Wings at the Joe and spend time with his idols.
The Wings players and coaches welcomed him with open arms.
"He shoots right, could be on the power play, or play right defense. I like it," Mike Babcock joked.
Owen has Cystic Fibrosis, a fatal, genetic disease that affects his lungs and his whole body. He undergoes treatments 3-4 times per day for 4-6 hours.
"Typically most days, he gets up at 5 am to start his treatments before school, hour and a half treatment… then he gets one after school, then one before bed," Heidi Provencher said. "Life gives you struggles and you deal with it and we try to give him a positive attitude about it."
It's one thing to play with the Red Wings; it's another to look like one. The 2nd part of Owen's wish was to get his hair cut just like Jimmy.
Enter Howard's stylist at Utopia Salon in Northville, who gave him a cut fit for an NHL-er.
For Howard, who knows the family from Upstate New York, he said he was glad he could provide Owen with this experience.
"I see him when we go out to San Jose, but it was nice to bring him to Detroit, to our home, to our dressing room," Howard said. "It was a nice experience for us, but also for him one he won't forget."
When asked how he will remember the day, Owen said: "I think it was pretty cool."
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