Renaud's death stuns 67's

DON BRENNAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:58 AM ET

The 67's saw Mickey Renaud less than three weeks ago.

The fresh memory only added to the shock they already shared with the rest of the hockey world over the sudden death of the Windsor Spitfires' 19-year-old captain.

"It's just a terrible, terrible thing," said 67's winger Jason Bailey, who played against Renaud when the 67's were in Windsor Jan. 31. "He was a great hockey player and from what we know, he was a great leader and a great team guy.

"He was so young ... he still had his whole life to live."

Renaud collapsed at his home in Tecumseh, near Windsor, Monday morning. An autopsy was done yesterday morning with results released only to his family. A comprehensive investigation is under way to determine the exact cause of his death.

"It's scary that can just happen," said Bailey. "It makes you realize how precious life is."

Renaud, a fifth round pick of the Calgary Flames, had a goal and two assists when the Spitfires beat the 67's 7-2 at the Civic Centre Jan. 25.

"I was taking faceoffs against him, my line was playing against his line ..... it's a crazy thing," said 67's veteran Thomas Kiriakou. "All the boys were pretty upset, in shock.

"Just shows you how short life is. We're on a high right now, fortunate to be playing in the OHL and it could all be over in a second, in a blink. It's really sad."

The league has postponed tomorrow's game in Windsor against the Plymouth Whalers. Spitfires players have returned to their homes to grieve.

All players will wear a commemorative No. 18 sticker on their helmet with "Mickey" underneath. The league and Spitfires are also developing a video tribute that will be played at each OHL arena.

'This is obviously a very difficult time for Mickey's family, friends and teammates as well as the entire Ontario Hockey League family,'' commissioner David Branch said in a statement.

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"We take great pride in Mickey's involvement in our league during the past three years and recognize the leadership, passion, love of the game and the respect for teammates and opponents that he brought to the rink every day.

''We are proud to dedicate these initiatives to honour the memory of a young man that was cherished in his community.''

In Windsor yesterday, Spitfires GM Warren Rychel -- a former 67's captain -- choked back tears talking about Renaud.

"His teachers loved him. His teammates loved him. His friends loved him," Rychel said. "My dad remembers when he used to peek his head over the skate shop to get his skates sharpened in this building. He was only just a little guy."

Visitation for Renaud was scheduled for today and tomorrow in Windsor, with his funeral set for Friday morning in Tecumseh.


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