Friday, February 29, 2008

Heavy hearts in Windsor as the Spitfires return to action

The Windsor Spitfires resumed their OHL season on Thursday night, ten days after the tragic passing of the team's captain Mickey Renaud.

The last week and a bit has been a hard one for the players, management and fans of the team, as they all tried to come to terms with death of the popular captain, who collapsed at his Tecumseh home and never recovered.

The Windsor area resident was laid to rest last Friday afternoon, as hundreds of mourners paying their respects for the hockey player who held a special place in his hometown as someone who was quite involved with community activities.

Thursday night marked the final public act of the grieving process for their captain. With some of Renaud's family members and friends on hand for the night, a celebration of Renaud's life took place in the pre game skates as both the Spitfires and opposition Belleville Bulls wore special hockey warm up sweaters with Renaud's number 18 prominently displayed.

Prior to the ceremonial face off, the Bulls turned over their uniforms to the Spitfires, while the Spitfires one by one also took off their jersey's and placed them as centre ice.

It was an emotional scene for the sell out crowd at the Windsor Arena, many of whom were dressed in red in tribute as was requested by the Spitfires management.

At the face off, the Belleville Bulls sent out Keaton Turkiewicz, a former Spitfire. Windsor sent out no one, indicative of a player that can never be replaced. The puck was then presented to Renaud's brother Remy, handed over by the longest serving Spitfire Bradley Snetsinger.

The Spitfires who have been through much in the last ten days, will now try to turn their attention back to hockey, a hard enough challenge at the best of times but now made a little harder by the passing of one of their character players and one of the most popular of Spitfires to play in Windsor.

With a little help from their loyal fan base, they'll find a way to make the journey together. Which is the way it should be.

Windsor Star--Windsor fans bid tearful farewell to late captain
The Canadian Press--Spitfires pay tribute to Renaud
Windsor Star--Renaud's spirit lives on

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