Windsor - September 4, 2013 - In part three of this series I talked with former Spitfire captains Harry Young and Ryan Ellis and got their thoughts about Mickey Renaud. Harry and Ryan were both in town recently to participate in the Windsor Spitfires Foundation’s inaugural Mickey’s Run.
TC: Harry, you were the first Spitfires captain after Mickey. Can you tell me about him?
HY: Yes, I was the first captain after Mickey, and it’s a real point of pride for me. He taught me a lot about leadership, and he was just the perfect leader all around. He was extremely competitive, hard working, he was one of those guys who led by example. He was also a vocal guy in the room, the kind of guy that you always wanted to be around. Everything you want in a leader, he had it. I tried to emulate that.
TC: When the Spits won the OHL championship in 2009, Mickey’s jersey was brought out onto the ice and draped over the trophy.
HY: He was a huge part of the team, he was out there with us the whole time. The mentality was that no matter what we were doing, he was always with us.
TC: And the reminders are still around the rink.
HY: We tried to keep it all over the place, he’s someone we’ll never forget, regardless of whether the reminders are there or not. He’s always going to be a part of us. We’re doing something like this today, and you see how many people have turned out. It’s a beautiful day, and he would have loved something like this.
TC: You came to the Spitfires at the age of fifteen. How did Mickey’s leadership help you as a young player coming into the league?
RE: Mickey was eighteen when Taylor (Hall) and I both came in as fifteen year olds, and he was so mature for his age, so beyond his years .He was a calming influence, an even keel guy who would let us know if we got out of line, and having a guy like that leading the way was big for us, and very influential in our early years.
TC: You wore the “C” after Harry, what did that mean to you?
RE: I grew up watching Mickey, and then to follow after Harry, it was huge. I saw just how those two guys led in totally different ways, and I got something from each of them. Harry was more on ice, and if something needed to be said, he said it. Mickey was more talkative and out-going, and I picked up important aspects of leadership from both of them. I’m more out-spoken that other guys, and that’s how I would lead, and I would hope it would translate to on the ice. It was an adjustment at first, to take the pressure of being a captain, and lead, but it was a great experience.
TC: The Spits have carried Mickey’s legacy on by having reminders around the rink. Can you talk about that?
RE: Yes, all of that is very important. We’ve all got chains around our necks with #18 on them. I wear mine all the time. I still visit his gravesite. Everyone has a part of Mickey left in them from the first team, and that helps carry his legacy over to future Spitfire teams. The organization wants to carry that on to the new players who didn’t know him.