A Tribute to Mickey Renaud
Some people are born leaders. They are the type of people to whom others gravitate, that have the skills, the character and intangible traits that define leadership.
Mickey Renaud was such a person. He was an energetic, engaging, driven individual with a passion for hockey and a zest for life that showed in everything that he did.He was a natural born leader – but perhaps most important, he was a person that so many people were proud to call a friend.
Mickey Renaud was born October 05, 1988 in Tecumseh, Ontario, the son of former NHLer Mark Renaud. He was a product of the Sun County Minor Hockey system, and was drafted by the Spitfires in 2004 following his Minor Midget year with the Sun County Panthers - a season in which he compiled 40 goals and 40 assists in 60 games.Renaud then played 39 games with the Jr. B Tecumseh Chiefs before joining the Spitfires for good in 2005-06.
By all accounts, the rugged, hard-working winger had a promising career ahead of him. In November 2006, he was ranked as the 14th best prospect in the OHL. He was named OHL West Division Academic Player of the Month for February 2006, and was selected to the 2006-2007 Ontario Hockey League's Western Conference All-Star team. Renaud was drafted by the Calgary Flames in the fourth-round of the 2007 NHL draft. The Flames traded two fifth-round draft picks to the Buffalo Sabres in order to get the Sabres' fourth-round pick, and used that draft pick to select Renaud.
At the start of the 2007-08 season, Renaud was named captain of the Spitfires. He quickly became the team's inspiration, a player renowned for his hard work, dedication and leadership qualities. Mickey was not only a leader on the ice and in the dressing room; he was an extremely popular with the fans and was actively involved in the community, participating in many group functions and charitable events.
"There's not many players come through our dressing room that share the qualities of Mickey," Spitfires president and head coach Bob Boughner said. "Mickey will be our captain forever in spirit and memory."
On February 18 2008, Renaud collapsed suddenly at his home in Tecumseh and was taken to the Windsor Regional Hospital with no vital signs. Attempts to resuscitate him failed and he was later pronounced dead around midday. He had played his last game the day before he died. At the time of his death, his teammates were on the ice for a post-practice skate with fans.
His sudden passing left the Canadian hockey world in shock. His legacy continues to influence and motivate everyone associated with the Windsor Spitfires organization.
On September 24, 2008, the Spitfires formally retired Renaud's No. 18 in a pre-game ceremony at Windsor Arena that revealed a 10-foot banner with a four-foot-high photo of Renaud looking down over the rink from its north end. Their opponents that night, the Belleville Bulls, had their home white jerseys altered for the occasion - every player in warmup wore a Renaud No. 18 jersey.
When the Spitfires introduced their new team jerseys in December, 2008, it included a shoulder patch playing tribute to their former “Captain for Life". The crest features a set of gold wings, the old Spitfires logo, and the number 18 in honour of Renaud. The crest also adorns the front of the team's special blue and gold jerseys worn during the month of February in Renaud's memory, and player's helmets also carry a sticker of Renaud's #18.
The City of Windsor formally honoured the memory of the fallen Spitfires captain by announcing that the road leading to the new WFCU Centre would be named Mickey Renaud Way.
Throughout the 2008-2009 season, Mickey's sweater hung in the dressing room. During the championship playoffs it hung on the bench. And when the team captured the Memorial Cup that spring, they brought out Mickey's jersey for the on-ice team photo.
Inside the WFCU Centre, a glass box displays a replica of Mickey's dressing room stall, complete with his photo, jersey, gloves and skates.
The Mickey Renaud Captain's Trophy
In 2009 the Ontario Hockey League created the Mickey Renaud Captain's Trophy. The award was introduced at the 2009 OHL All-Star Classic hosted at the WFCU Centre. It is given annually to one OHL team captain, chosen by a selection committee, who "best exemplifies leadership on and off the ice, with a passion and dedication to the game of hockey and his community", as demonstrated by Mickey Renaud throughout his OHL career. Past winners of the award are:
- 2011-12 Andrew Agozzino, Niagara IceDogs
- 2010–11 Ryan Ellis, Windsor Spitfires
- 2009–10 John Kurtz, Sudbury Wolves
- 2008–09 Chris Terry, Plymouth Whalers