Kingston connection

Old Fronts remain together as they join forces on men’s hockey

Defenceman Warren Steele (left) and forward Darcy Greenaway were teammates on the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs for three years before joining the Gaels this season.
Defenceman Warren Steele (left) and forward Darcy Greenaway were teammates on the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs for three years before joining the Gaels this season.
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Darcy Greenaway recorded 62 points in 67 games for the Kingston Frontenacs last season. This year, he has 21 points for the Gaels.
Darcy Greenaway recorded 62 points in 67 games for the Kingston Frontenacs last season. This year, he has 21 points for the Gaels.

At any level of sports, seven consecutive seasons is a long time to be teammates.

It’s a feat men’s hockey players Darcy Greenaway and Warren Steele will likely attain — but their partnership nearly stopped this year.

The pair spent three seasons as teammates with the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), and are now just over halfway through their first year playing for the Gaels.

“I can’t seem to get away from Darcy — the guy follows me everywhere,” Steele said.

Steele’s jab at his close friend needs a bit of context. When Greenaway committed to playing for Queen’s last spring, it appeared Steele would be back with the Frontenacs for a fourth full season. Instead, 20-year-old defenceman Evan McEneny returned to the club, and Steele saw himself as the odd man out due to an OHL rule prohibiting teams from signing more than two 20-year-old players.

After being released in mid-September, Steele could’ve asked to be traded to another OHL team, but he decided to stay in Kingston and play for the Gaels.

Steele joined the squad under unique circumstances. Since he enrolled at Queen’s during the school year, the defenceman had to launch an academic appeal to the University, allowing him to pick up more classes and become eligible to play varsity sports.

While being cut came as a bit of a surprise, Steele said he’s loved Queen’s so far.

“I’m biased, but you can’t get a better school than Queen’s,” he said.

Head coach Brett Gibson said he believes Steele and Greenaway are going to be a few of the cornerstones of the team in the entirety of their careers at Queen’s.

Both of them, Gibson added, are examples of a model OUA player.

“They’re very similar,” Gibson said. “Their talent level is through the roof, they’re able to do things some of the other guys in this league simply can’t do. Their maturity and mental preparation for the game allows them to play like they do.”

As they’re both in their first year, the impact the former Frontenac tandem has been immediately noticeable.

Greenaway has provided a fireball to the Gaels’ offence; his team-leading 11 goals and 21 points have helped raise the team’s average from 3.00 goals a game in 2013-14 to 3.32 this year.

Steele’s 13 points rank second on the team in scoring amongst defencemen, meanwhile, and his 11 assists are third among all Gaels. He has also made key contributions on special teams.

While Steele took an untraditional path to find his way onto the Gaels, Greenaway has had few issues so far. The centre is long-time friends with second-year netminder Kevin Bailie, who introduced him to Gibson and the program.

“Knowing a lot of the guys on the team before made that transition easy for me,” Greenaway said.

Like Steele, Greenaway reflects fondly upon his days with the Frontenacs.

“I have nothing but good things to say about the organization,” he said. “I made a lot of good friends there — guys still swing by and hang out with us. It’s fortunate enough we’re still in the same city.”

But while there’s been many positives along the way in their three and a half seasons together, there’s one task the two have yet to accomplish. Neither player won a playoff series with the Frontenacs, who haven’t won one as a team since 1998.

Though their junior days are now over, they’re attempting to create something special at Queen’s. The Gaels won a playoff series under Gibson for the first time last year, and currently sit tied for sixth in the OUA East.

With Greenaway’s offence, Steele’s defence and 19 of the team’s 30 players in their first two years, it looks like the team is just getting started at showing its ability.

“We’re learning from some of the older guys here now,” Greenaway said. “We’re trying to be leaders.”

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