Ab Renaud

Ab Renaud was a speedster out of Ottawa who enjoyed a lengthy amateur playing and coaching career. The highlight was travelling to the St. Moritz Winter Olympics in Switzerland and winning gold. He scored 4 goals and 14 points.

There was no gold medal game back then. Instead, Canada found themselves controlling their own destiny in the final game against the host Swiss. Renaud recalled the game and then tournament for the Ottawa Citizen:

The game plan was simple for Canada's final game in the men's round-robin hockey tournament at the 1948 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland. We had to beat Switzerland by a minimum of two goals to win the gold medal.

The strategy worked to perfection as we overachieved and blanked the quick-skating Swiss 3-0 to capture Canada's fifth Olympic hockey gold medal in six Winter Games. The win left us tied for first place in the standings with Czechoslovakia with seven wins, no losses, and one tie. But we won the gold because of a better goals for-goals against ratio.

We were confident our team was good enough to beat the Swiss, but we were concerned about the ice. It was an open-air rink and the ice wasn't the best. It was rather soft. There were no Zambonis available. As the game progressed, it softened up and ruts appeared. Louis Lecompte picked up the puck once, tripped on the ice and went into the boards to dislocate his shoulder.

There were about 10,000 fans for the game in bleachers on both sides of the rink. It was the perfect setting down in the (Engadine) valley. But we had to watch out for snowballs thrown by the Swiss fans. When we won the gold, everyone ran and jumped on each other. We had 11 players, consisting of two forward lines, three defence, a swing -player and a goalie.

The medal ceremony was held right at the rink. The gold medals they gave us were in a nice jewelry case and not on a ribbon. They were beautiful medals, and most superior to the ones given recently.

It was hard to describe the feeling. But we can go home now. It was Feb. 8 and we had set sail from New York City on Jan. 6. On the way home, we travelled through Europe, playing games to help defray the cost of going to the Olympics. We played a game in Paris against the Paris Racing Club, which was made up mostly of Canadian players. Gold medal figure skater Dick Button skated between periods.

We docked in New York City and took the train to Montreal and Ottawa. When we got to Ottawa, we were paraded in open-air Buick roadsters with two to three players in each car.

Renaud had a lengthy career in the civil service in Ottawa. But his passion was sports, especially hockey but also golf.

Renaud passed away just before Christmas 2012. His obituary said his induction into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame was one of his proudest moments.

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