We can define a hockey career by championships won, by personal statistics or by expectations that we have towards those players. There is however a couple of things that no matter the outcome, nothing can be taken away from an individual: it is all those friendships and memories that were forged when being part of a sport organization.
For three Rapids’ players who will not return next season because of their age, those memories of being part of a new team in a new community will be forever cherished. As for its loyal fan base, the departures of those players are met with sadness and a certain emptiness. After all, they were all part of a successful first season in Grand Falls and gave everything they had, both on and off the ice, to represent their team with loyalty, dignity and with great pride.
We will always remember Jean-Simon Bélanger’s powerful shot and scoring skills, Kyle Anderson’s solid and consistent play at the blue line as well as Mackenzie Mindus’ leadership and intensity with each and every shift he spent on the ice. They will also be remembered as great young individuals who were also there to please their fans by signing autographs, showing up at team functions or by volunteering their time towards minor hockey.
No matter where their career will carry them next, there is no doubt that they will never forget their experience in Grand Falls. And everyone who saw them play up close will never forget how their actions and their play helped build a strong foundation for this organization that needed to surround itself with such amazing young men.
Thank you, Jean-Simon, Kyle and Mackenzie, for all the memories and for such an amazing season and good luck with your future plans!
Photo: Studio Martine Caron