Owen Just is one of the most dominant players this season, running up eye-popping statistics in the ever-tough, always-challenging Scholastic Hockey League and the fierce non-conference schedule that his Glenbrook North Spartans play.
Through his first 18 SHL games, he leads the league in goals (16), assists (18) and points (34). He also leads the league with 6 powerplay goals.
Through 32 overall games this season, Just has 27 goals and 41 assists. His 68-points is 14 more than the next Spartan (Michael Dimoff: 25 goals, 29 assists, 54 points).
“Hockey is a team sport and you never attain individual accolades without the support of your teammates and coaches. I am fortunate to play alongside some terrific teammates and have the confidence (of) my coaches to allow me opportunities to display my skills,” said Just, 18, who lives in Northbrook and is in his third varsity season.
“I try to do whatever it takes for my team to be successful. My biggest attributes are my hockey intelligence and my creativity with the puck. I am a versatile playmaker who (takes) pride in my passing ability (and I) also can finish. I strive to elevate the play of my teammates through my work ethic and selfless leadership."
“I am a determined leader who does whatever it takes to set my team up for success. I appreciate the coaches giving me the opportunity to display my versatility and showcase my abilities with the puck. I try to both lead by example and communicate effectively with my teammates to enable us to be successful.”
Just has 9 multi-goal games this season and six times has chipped in 3 assists in a game.
“The biggest influences on my career are my dad and my grandpa, (Bret and Mark, respectively),” said Just, wearing jersey No. 97 for the Spartans. “I got my love of the game from my grandpa, who had been involved with various organizations over the years. My dad and my grandpa always believe in me, yet they always tell me the truth, which is something I really value and appreciate."
“My favorite player and someone whose game I try to mirror has been Sidney Crosby. I like that he is a complete two-way player who is willing to do whatever it takes to win.”
Just played youth hockey for the Northbrook Bluehawks, Chicago Mission and Chicago Young Americans before landing on the Spartans.
“Owen is the most dynamic offensive player in the SHL and arguably in the state,” said GBN head coach Evan Poulakidas. “(He has) terrific hands, (is) shifty and (has an) extremely accurate shot. Other teams know who he is and he always faces their No. 1 defensive units, which makes his point totals even more impressive."
“He sees offensive plays before anybody else does and his assist totals, which actually could be more had we converted (those passes), are a testament to that ability.”
Just has tallied memorable goals throughout his career – from peewee level to this past season, and all points in between. Years ago, for instance, he competed against then-future NHL talent in the prestigious Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament.
“It was an extremely well-run tournament that is (famed worldwide) as some of the best of the best have participated over the years,” he said. “As a sophomore, I was a part of a GBN team that made an incredible run to the state championship. Although the double-overtime loss still sticks with me today, the journey throughout the playoffs is something that I’ll cherish forever. The guidance, preparation and leadership of our upperclassmen and coaches showed me the characteristics of how a successful team operates.”
This season, he already has led the Spartans to wins over perennial powers New Trier Green and twice over Loyola Gold. Just had a powerplay tally against the Trevians on Dec. 4th in Northbrook and an assist on Aidan Siegel’s third-period goal, ending Green’s 11-game winning streak over SHL opponents at the time.
“We played one of our more complete games as a team (against the Trevians) and showed a compete level necessary to challenge the elite teams,” Just said. “In the (second) Loyola game, we were trailing by three goals late in the third period when we showed resilience and toughness to fight back and win in a shootout.”
Last season, Just led the Spartans to a memorable come-from-behind shootout win on the road against York – it ranks as his favorite high school goal.
“We were trailing by four goals going into the third period, and after a tying goal in the last seconds of regulation, I had the opportunity to go in the shootout. I faked a shot and made a move to my forehand, putting the puck in the back of the net. As I turned, I saw my teammates swarm me. It was a surreal moment,” he said.
Just is still undecided on his college plans, but said he wants to stay on the ice. It’s long been a goal of his to play Division I hockey.
“Glenbrook North has been blessed with a number of truly great players … Owen Just is certainly in that team picture,” Poulakidas said.
Slapshots With GBN Forward Owen Just
Favorite NHL Team: Chicago Blackhawks
Favorite NHL Player: Sidney Crosby
Favorite Sports-themed Movie: Rocky
Favorite Pre-game Meal: Chicken and rice
Celebrity You’d Like To Meet: Drake
Best Hockey Tip: “There are two things you can always control: attitude and effort.” – Bret Just (Owen’s dad).
Teammate Who You Could See As A Hockey Coach: Aidan Siegel
Hardest Slapshot On GBN: Jimmy Dahlke
Most Accurate Shot: Josh Genin
Fastest Skater: Michael Dimoff
Best High School Uniforms (other than GBN): Lake Forest
First High School Hockey Game: “(It) was not under normal circumstances due to COVID-19. We were forced to play in Dyer, Indiana, and my first-ever opponent was New Trier Green. I remember losing the game, but in a rematch the next day, I scored my very first high school goal. My experience playing AAA allowed me to feel confident and comfortable playing against one of the elite programs in Illinois as a sophomore.”
SHL, 2022-2023 Season: “The SHL is the top league in the state of Illinois and one of the best in the country. There are amazing coaches and quality players throughout the league, and each game is an extreme test.”
Away From Hockey: “I enjoy hanging out with my friends, playing video games and watching sports.”
Always Improving: “Each week, I like to review my game film to see where I can improve. I also watch NHL and college hockey to see what aspects of their game I can incorporate into mine. Plus, I work out in the gym to improve my strength and conditioning.”
It’s A Fact: “I write with my right hand, but play hockey and other sports left-handed.”