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Grenier gets final chance for Ramblers glory at Fred Page Cup

Dawson Grenier, seen here taking control of the puck against the South Shore Lumberjacks, says that after four years with the Ramblers he’s excited to play in the Fred Page Cup. “We’ve been waiting all year for this moment,” said Grenier.
Dawson Grenier, seen here taking control of the puck against the South Shore Lumberjacks, says that after four years with the Ramblers he’s excited to play in the Fred Page Cup. “We’ve been waiting all year for this moment,” said Grenier. - Dave Mathieson

Grenier’s four-year run with the Ramblers has been transformative

AMHERST, N.S. – When the puck drops for the Fred Page Cup on May 1, Dawson Grenier will be ready, and so will his team.

“I think we’re going to be the best conditioned and fastest team on the ice,” said the Ramblers captain. “When the puck drops, we have to take it to them and play the whole 60 minutes. If we do that, I think we’ll do fine.”

A four-year veteran, Grenier is the longest-serving player for the Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers.

From Souris, PEI, Grenier joined the Ramblers in the 2015-2016 season after he was drafted in the third round by Ramblers coach and general manager Jeff LeBlanc.

“My first year here we didn’t make the playoffs, but we’ve made the playoffs the three years since,” said the 20-year-old. “Jeff keeps making the team better and better.”

LeBlanc has watched Grenier grow into a man during his tenure with the Ramblers.

“I remember him sitting in this office as a 17-year-old and I talked to his father about ice-time and other things, and Dawson really didn’t say much. His dad did a lot of the talking for him,” said LeBlanc. “I look at him now and he’s his own man, he’s not a boy anymore. He’s grown up to be a fine individual who will do great things in life.”

He says Grenier has grown into a great player as well.

“He’s developed into one of the top three defencemen in the league, in my opinion,” LeBlanc said. “And he’s one of the hardest workers in practice. When you package that up with being a great kid, good things happen to those type of kids.”

LeBlanc would like to see Grenier play hockey at the university level next year.

“We’re going to push to find a spot for him in the CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) somewhere,” said LeBlanc. “I hope he has a good tournament because there’s going to be a lot of scouts here and somebody will be very lucky to have him. He’s a character kid, and it’s hard to find character.”

Grenier has seen a lot of players come and go over the past four years.

“I’ve made so many friends over the years and I’m still in contact with a lot of guys I played with,” said Grenier.

He’s made many more friends this year as well.

“We have a great group of guys. We’re like family and everyone gets along, and we have good chemistry.”

The Ramblers play their first game of the Fred Page Cup May 1, at 7:30 p.m. against the Ottawa Jr. Senators, the winners of the Central Canadian Hockey League.

On May 2, they play the Yarmouth Mariners, the winner of the Maritime Junior Hockey League, and then on May 3, they play the winners of the Quebec League. Both games start at 7:30 p.m.

The Bronze medal game is May 4, and the championship game is May 5.

LeBlanc says the Ramblers will focus more on their own game and less on what the other team is doing at the Fred Page Cup.

“I think with South Shore we concentrated maybe a little too much on them and we didn’t concentrate enough on ourselves,” said LeBlanc, while discussing their first-round playoff loss to the Lumberjacks. “We broke them down too much, especially the first two games. We should have just played. We made mistakes we didn’t make all year.”

He says the Ramblers have a pretty good idea of what kind of team they’re getting with Yarmouth, but it is tough to do an in-depth analysis of each team playing in the Fred Page Cup.

“You have to take the Coles Notes version of each team because It’s tough to prepare for three teams in three nights and break them down,” said LeBlanc. “Not to say that we’re not preparing for the penalty kill or the power play but we’re not breaking down every faceoff like we did against South Shore.”

He says the tournament will come down to three factors.

“It comes down to goaltending, to how many mistakes are made, and it comes down to special teams, so we’re looking for all those things.”

It also comes down to taking it one game at a time.

“We’re very confident group,” said LeBlanc. “We will try to get better every game, and hopefully our best game is our last game.”

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