Stepping away from the Hawkesbury Hawks of the CCHL (Central Canada Hockey League) after their first game of the season, which he was a healthy scratch for, he originally planned to play junior B and go to school. In those few weeks after leaving the Hawks he received offers from multiple teams, but they weren’t what he was looking for.
That was when he started to realize he missed the game and wanted to make something work with another junior A team, so his adviser gave him a list of teams he might work well with and in the end Pictou County is where he landed.
The 19-year-old has been in the county just over a week and has been skating with the Crushers since his arrival. Having been off the ice for a few weeks he said it’s taking some extra effort to get back into “game shape.”
“The first couple days were tough, a couple baggers (bag skate), but I’m definitely coming around now,” he said. “I’m back into it, but it was really tough taking a few weeks off, not really doing hockey or the gym at all. Coming here was tough, but I think I’m adjusting fine.”
Thursday he will make his MHL debut with the Weeks Crushers as they host the Valley Wildcats. Puck drop is 7 p.m. at the Wellness Centre.
“I just want to go out and get the first hit out of the way, get some pucks to the net, play some good defence and try to win a hockey game,” he said. “I think I bring some size, I’ll hopefully be some more offence and score some goals. Hopefully I’ll play some good defence too and be an all-around guy, try to help the team out wherever I need to fit in.”
Coming from Ontario and the CCHL, Renaud said he knew little about the area or the league. He said his expectations were relatively low and that he’s really excited now that he’s seen what the MHL is all about.
“I was coming out here thinking I was going to be playing in a barn and there was going to be about 50 people in the stands, I had no idea what this league was about,” said Renaud. “You really don’t hear much about it, so it wasn’t what I expected at all. I didn’t know what the hockey was going to be like, but it’s good. It’s different hockey for sure, a lot rougher, but I think I’ll fit in well and do well here.”
His linemates are expected to be Stephen MacInnis and Evan Morrison. The 6’3 forward said everyone in the locker room has been welcoming and made his transition easy.
“It’s been pretty cool, great teammates and a great team, I really like it and they treat you really well here,” he said. “I’ve never been in a place where it’s such a community-based team. I come from last year where we had 300 to 350 fans to here where on an average night its 800-some. It’s different for sure, but I’m really liking it here.”
Devan Tremblay will start in goal tonight for Pictou County.
By the Numbers:
2011-12 National Sports Academy Varsity (USHS)
35 GP 14 G 25 A 39 P 30 PIM
2012-13 Winchester Hawks (EOJHL)
39 GP 4 G 14 A 18 P 28 PIM
2013-14 Hawkesbury Hawks (CCHL)
54 GP 7 G 3 A 10 P 17 PIM
On Twitter: @NGNewsChris