Flames players hit by death

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:48 AM ET

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Though Mickey Renaud wasn't a Calgary Flames teammate, his sudden death Monday had an impact on the players in the dressing room.

Especially those with children.

"It's always tougher when we're on long road trips like this, and the kids when I'm not around can make it a little edgy at home," said Flames defenceman Adrian Aucoin.

"But last night my wife said just as you're getting a little mad at the kids over little things and getting maybe a little hard on them, you step back and realize how lucky you are because everything in life is going well.

"You always hear of crazy things that happen in this world, and it seems sometimes it takes something to happen close to home to make you realize how lucky you are."

Renaud, 19, was drafted by the Flames last summer and attended a summer prospects camp and rookie camp.

He died while having breakfast with his family and some teammates Monday morning.

Flames rookie centre Dustin Boyd remembers chatting with Renaud a couple of times during camp. He is one of the few players in the pro ranks who had contact with the prospect.

"I talked to him when he was in our locker-room. It's unbelievable," Boyd said.

"He was a really nice guy, down to earth. It's tough to see something like happen to anybody. It's sad. It's scary something like that can happen to anyone. It sure makes you appreciate life."

Despite having had no contact with the Windsor Spitfires captain, the fact he was part of the Calgary Flames family made the news a little more difficult for the players.

"No matter if he was here or wherever, he was a young guy whose life was cut short, and it doesn't seem fair," said Craig Conroy.

"He had so much probably ahead of him and was looking forward to that. I feel so bad for his family, his parents, siblings. It's tough to hear.

"You really don't know what to say because you feel so bad."

The Flames will honour Renaud with a moment of silence and a tribute prior to Friday's home game against the Detroit Red Wings.

When word of his death reached the players Monday afternoon -- an off-day for the squad -- it made their two-game losing streak seem a little less important. Conroy said most conversations were about how much they felt for the Renaud family.

"It puts everything into perspective. This is a game we get to do for a living and have fun, but there are so many other things in the world way bigger," he said. "Some days, you feel devastated about a loss, and then you hear something like that, it's not even anywhere the same."

"Even though we don't really know anybody, you can't help but think about his family. You just want to wish them the best.

"You'd never want to go through that. You always think your kids are going to be there long after you're gone. It's hard to imagine what they're going through."


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