By Craig Stein
Saskatoon product Rylan Parenteau had the chance to play in the SJHL as a 17-year-old, and play big minutes as the number one goaltender with the Weyburn Red Wings. While the team had their struggles that season, finishing last in the Viterra Division, it proved to be a pivotal developmental season for Parenteau, who played in 41 games, going 16-22-2, while posting more than respectable individual numbers, with a 2.72 GAA, .926% and three shutouts, when he was still eligible to be playing ‘AAA’ midget. Parenteau used that experience to spring board on to the Western Hockey League, where he spent the next three seasons between the Prince Albert Raiders and Tri-City Americans, and now, at age 22, finds himself a national USPORTS Champion, having picked up a University Cup title with the University of New Brunswick Reds in March, as they defeated the defending champion Alberta Golden Bears in the final.
Rylan I’ll leave the University Cup until the end here, let’s start in Weyburn if you don’t mind. You got the chance to play a tonne as a 17 year old before going on to bigger things. How key was that season in preparing you going forward?
That was a huge season for my hockey career. After failing to make the roster for the Raiders as a 17 year old, I was highly motivated to improve upon my game and eventually achieve my goal of playing in the WHL. I was given an unbelievable opportunity by the Weyburn Red Wings and Bryce Thoma to play in a starting role for my first year of junior hockey. I learned very quickly how competitive the league is which helped me elevate my game to another level.
Any specific memories or people from weyburn that still stick out all these years later?
Obviously all of my teammates and the coaching staff in Weyburn played a big role in making my time there so memorable. I also have to thank my billets, the Robertson family, who took me into their home and made me feel part of their family right from day one.
You went on to a nice career in the WHL with PA and Tri-City, how did you eventually decide on UNB?
I was very proud to have eventually transitioned into the WHL and represent both the Raiders and Americans throughout my career. Upon graduating from junior hockey, I knew that I wanted to find an opportunity that would allow me to both continue my hockey career and pursue a geological engineering degree. After being contacted by UNB, I was ecstatic knowing that it was my best opportunity to succeed both athletically and academically.
And lastly just talk about the University Cup experience. I know it was a back up role for yourself this time but how special was this group to be able to get past the defending champs and #1 seed from this year?
The University Cup experience was unbelievable. I am so proud of our entire organization for all of the time and effort put into this national championship season. This was a very special group who truly earned it. Although I had the back up role for it this year, I am very excited for the opportunity to take on a bigger role while defending the championship next season.
*Parenteau backed up Alex Dubeau, in the championship game, and Dubeau graduates this year, and Parenteau’s hopeful for a shot at the starting role in the 2019-2020 season as the Reds look to defend their University Cup Championship.