Brendan Grenville has fit in perfectly with the Pelham Panthers.
The Panthers acquired the Pelham resident from the Port Colborne Sailors as part of a nine-player blockbuster deal and the 20-year-old forward has been a huge shot in the arm for the team.
“It’s my hometown,” Grenville said. “It feels good to play here. It’s close to home, lots of family can come to my games, lots of buddies.
“I like it here so far. Port Colborne was going down the road of getting rid of a lot of their players and I found a destination here and I’m happy.”
The Panthers shipped Jacob Raposo, Nick Tymochenko, Val Johnston, Carson Bennett and Ryan Haeney to the Sailors in exchange for Grenville, Aiden Cupelli, Brendan Grenville, Liam Wicks and defenceman Christian Williams.
Grenville welcomed the move.
“I knew they had a hard-working team and the potential to fill roles with players who can put points on the board so they brought in some pretty high-end talent,” Grenville said. “I believe we can definitely shock some teams. We’re a hard-working team. We’re stingy. We wait around and pounce on our opportunities. We’re a hard team to play against.”
Panthers general manager Emelie Ficht loves what Grenville brings to the organization, on and off the ice.
“We knew about him. We obviously thought he was a great player and a local player so it was really important to get him here if we could,” Ficht said.
“(He brings) a sense of leadership, he’s a veteran presence and he’s a 200-foot player that puts in effort every game, gives 100 per cent all the time, 200 per cent honestly. It’s been a huge difference having that veteran presence. There’s more communication, you can see it in the dressing room. It’s been really positive.”
Pelham owner Wes Gee feels the influx of talent and experience added with the trade was necessary.
“Mix, I think, is probably the most important thing if you want to build a consistently competitive organization,” Gee said. “You just keep rolling the mix along. I know some organizations want the maximum number of 20-year-olds every year and they roll through lineups. We want to be more committed to the kids in terms of their development. We’re trying to find the perfect fix where we can be competitive.”
Grenville, whose father, Chris Grenville, also played at the junior B level for the Thorold Blackhawks and Niagara Falls Canucks before a long career as a professional player, has been placed in a go-to offensive role playing on a line with Cupelli and Caleb MacLeish.
“It’s nice. I wouldn’t say it was given to me, I’ve had to work hard,” he said. “Zac (head coach Zac Rinaldo) believes in me and I believe in my skills that I can help the team.”
Brendan Grenville loves playing for Rinaldo, a former NHL winger who skated for five teams.
“It’s awesome. Our practices are unreal. Practice almost feels harder than the games and that’s how it should be. He makes sure our diets are good and we’re working out consistently. He treats us like we’re NHL players.”
The Panthers split a pair of weekend games, topping the Welland Junior Canadians 4-1 Friday night before falling 3-1 at home to the Caledonia Corvairs Sunday afternoon and have moved up to fifth place in the standings.