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Countdown: 29 Days ‘Til Dalhousie

We are under thirty days until the Massachusetts Minutemen take the ice against Dalhousie in this year’s exhibition game.  Since there are 29 days left, it’s time to look at this year’s #29.  #29 is a special number for UMass hockey, mostly because the last player to wear it was Jon Quick when he led the program to its one and only NCAA tournament appearance.  This year the #29 makes its return on arguably the most anticipated freshman recruit for the Minutemen, goaltender Nic Renyard.

Renyard’s story is certainly a compelling one.  Last year at this time he didn’t even have a team, being released by the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies just days before the season.  He was able to catch on with the Okotoks Oilers of the AJHL for one last shot  to secure an NCAA scholarship.  He made the most of that chance.  By the end of the year Renyard had been named league Goaltender of the Year, league Most Valuable Player, and the RBC CJHL National Player of the Year, which goes to the top player amongst all of the Junior A leagues across all of Canada.  Renyard would go 30-8-3 for the Oilers with a .924 save percentage, 2.19 goals against average, and 5 shutouts.

Of course UMass is looking for consistent goaltending this season, something they haven’t really had since Paul Dainton graduated in 2011.  Will Renyard be that rock in net that UMass desperately needs?  Will Henry Dill use the season of college hockey under his belt to improve and grab the starter job full time?  Or will we see another season of rotation in the crease?  Questions that will begin to be answered in 29 days.

Recruit Troy Conzo was mentioned in this release about his team, the Wenatchee Wild, joining the BCHL.  They’re the first US based team in the league in 20 years.  With junior teams starting their preseasons I plan to start my weekly recruit updates in a couple weeks.

Here’s a college hockey scholarship FAQ that College Hockey Inc. put together.  It’s probably geared towards prospective students but is informative for fans as well.

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