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Kurt Etchegary had so many serious injuries during his Quebec Major Junior Hockey League career that he had to give up on his hockey dreams at age 21.
He had the pleasure of playing four years with the Quebec Remparts, his first two years under the tutelage of coach and Hockey Hall of Famer Patrick Roy and his last seasons with former NHL journeyman defenceman Philippe Boucher behind the bench.
A St. John’s native, Etchegary hasn’t played any contact hockey since he played for the University of Prince Edward Island Panthers in the Atlantic University Sport 18 months ago, but he’s excited to be back playing the game again.
The 24-year-old, fresh from graduation from the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, will make his senior hockey debut this weekend when he suits up with the Corner Brook Royals in the West Coast Senior Hockey League.
Etchegary is ready to begin life as a police officer, with his first posting in Corner Brook. He hit the ice for his first practice with the Royals Tuesday night and he’s excited about getting back in the game.
He brings a solid 5-foot-11, 225-pound frame to the forward position for the Royals and he’s happy to share the ice with Steve Gillard, a childhood friend and also a new RNC officer on the west coast, who will patrol the blueline for the Royals this winter.
Etchegary has been away from competitive hockey for quite a spell as he went through his RNC training, but he has kept himself active and has always kept himself in great shape, so he doesn’t think it will take long for him to get back in the groove.
“I’m just excited to play the game again. I heard a lot of good things about the different senior leagues across the province,” he said. “It was just an opportunity I wanted to take and I’m really excited to be back on the ice again.”
A centre who takes pride in playing hard in both ends of the rinks, Etchegary isn’t going to put any big expectations on himself. He’s just going to play the game the way he was shown to play it and leave it all on the ice.
“Work hard and give an honest effort every night, and try to help the team win,” he said. “That’s the goal at the end of the night, is to win, so that’s all that really matters.”
The Royals open the season Friday at 8 p.m. against the Port aux Basques Mariners at the Bruce II Arena in Port aux Basques. The two teams wrap up the home-and-home series with the Mariners taking on the Royals Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Corner Brook Civic Centre.