Continued from page 1

No wonder he and the ever-personable Ward became friends and remained so for a decade.

Power’s death hit Ward hard, but now he has the chance to honor his late friend and share his story. Ward ordered gloves with “DP” stitched on them and is waiting for them to arrive.

“I’m kind of hoping those come in pretty soon,” he said.

It was all to clear in those words how much Power meant to him.

But the 32-year-old forward did pretty well in the season opener Saturday night wearing his regular gloves and thinking of Power. With Power’s stepfather, Duane McGregor, in attendance at Tampa Bay Times Forum, Ward scored twice, getting a third of the way to his 2011-12 goal total in just one game.

Ward believes spiritual intervention helped him get to within a goal of his first career hat trick. As he pointed out, the two goals came on two good bounces.

“I do believe he was there in Tampa watching, helping me out a little bit there,” Ward said. “I was asking him for one more, to see if he could help me out with one more. But I think I got a little bit too greedy by asking him for it.”

All Ward wants to do this season is to honor his friend with his play on the ice. Even though Ward grew up in Toronto, those he met in Prince Edward Island call him their own, and his dedicating the season to Power means they’ll keep even closer track of his progress.

“Prince Edward Islanders seem to adopt those who come here and play hockey,” Maxwell said. “Pretty passionate about their hockey here and he definitely had some awesome years and did a lot for the University of Prince Edward Island. He’s really supportive of the community, so people are definitely rooting for him.”

Ward’s cheering section extends to the Caps’ locker room, where left wing Jason Chimera said his teammate is thought of as a “big teddy bear” and liked because he’s a guy who shows everyone respect.

“He’s a good, quality human being. I think for him to have a great year would be great,” Chimera said. “You can’t help but root for a guy like that.”

Ward could use a bounce-back season after scoring just 18 points in 73 games last season. To be able to do it for Power’s memory and his late friend’s family would make it even more special.

“It definitely would be. … Good guys, good family and everybody. I just can’t speak highly enough of them,” Ward said. “I would definitely like to definitely do good and hopefully have a strong season here and hopefully we can bring home the prize.”