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Jersey retires but not the fellow who wore it

By Craig Westcott   |   The Shoreline

Photo: The Rogers Hometown Hockey mascot joined Assante CBR Renegades general manager Steve Gillard, left, team president Roger Powell, right, and former captain Lucas Lush, centre, for a ceremony Saturday night to retire Lush’s number 27 jersey. The ceremony was held prior to the start of a regular junior hockey league game between the host Renegades and the visiting CBN Stars from Bay Roberts. The Renegades beat the Stars 6-4 and occupy second place in the eight team standings.

Lucas Lush is used to drawing attention on the ice, but it’s usually from defencemen trying to catch up with the fast charging forward in the hope of slowing him down. On Saturday, Lush, 21, got a whole lot of attention of a different kind when the Asante CBR Renegades retired his jersey during a ceremony before a St. John’s Junior Hockey League game at CBS Arena in Kelligrews.

It was the first time the team has ever retired a player’s number, which was indicative of just how valuable Lush, the former captain of the team, was to the organization over the past few years. Lush, who is now playing a leading role on the ice for the CBS Blues in the newly formed East Coast Senior Hockey League, admitted after the ceremony he deeply appreciated the club’s gesture.

“It’s a huge honour, I don’t know where to start,” said Lush, who wore number 27 for the Renegades. “I started here (in CBS) playing hockey and played here my whole life… I can’t put into works how much this means to me. It means a lot.”

Lush said he feels more than honoured to be the first person to have a jersey retired at the arena. “It’s going to be up there for my kids to see and it’s a pleasure, it’s a huge honour,” he said.

Lush grew up in Seal Cove and has been playing hockey some 18 years. He is in his last year of the mechanical engineering program at the College of the North Atlantic. A gentleman off the ice, Lush plays a fast-paced rugged style when the skates are laced up, not shying away from the corners and displaying a talent as a set-up man. During games last year when the Renegades would occasionally fall into a lull, Lush was usually the one who energized his comrades to put in an extra effort by setting an example and stirring things up on the ice.

“Lucas Lush was the sixth Renegade to be named captain and the first CBR player to have his number 27 retired,” said team general manager, Steve Gillard, during the pre-game ceremony that included a host of dignitaries, Lush’s mom Vicki O-Brien Lush, as well as Rogers Hometown Hockey’s Kyle Buttenham. Eleven-year-old Brody Andrews of Admirals Academy sang the national anthem and the Ode to Newfoundland.

“As a dominant offensive player, Lucas finished his four-year junior career with 58 goals and 60 assists for 118 points,” said Gillard. “He was twice named the MicroAge Most Valuable Player. And this year he was entered into the Renegades Hall of Fame.”

Last season, Lush led the Renegades all the way to the league finals which was captured by the Marks Mount Pearl Blades.

“We worked hard, we tried our best, and I miss it already, I’ve got to say,” Lush said.

Lush’s rookie year in senior hockey is off to a good start. The club, which is made up almost entirely of players who have come up through the CBR Minor Hockey system, has a four wins and no losses and is sitting in first place in the league standings. Lush allowed there is a bit of an adjustment from junior to senior hockey. The players are bigger and heavier and it’s a bit quicker, he said. But junior hockey is fast too, he added.

“If all the fans can come out and support us the way they do for the Renegades (it would be great),” Lush said. “We’d like to give back to the community a championship this year, either with the Renegades or with the Blues, that’s what we’re going for.”

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