Greenaway headed to France to pursue pro hockey career

Former Gael signs with Rapaces de Gap

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Supplied by Darcy Greenaway

Unlike many fellow graduating athletes this year, Darcy Greenaway isn’t letting the end of his university experience mark the final chapter of his hockey career.

Earlier this spring, Greenaway—who spent four seasons with the Gaels—signed his first professional hockey contract with the Gap Raptors (known as Rapaces de Gap in France), a French team that’s part of Ligue Magnus.

"[It’s] the best opportunity for me," Greenaway said in an interview with The Journal about getting his crack at the pro’s. "I’m really looking forward to it."

Located in Gap, France, the team sits in the southeastern corner of the country near Nice. As members of Ligue Magnus, the Gap Raptors are a part of the top men’s hockey division in France and compete against 11 teams over 44 regular season games.

The transition to playing in a different environment will be a massive one for the Wilton, Ontario native, who’s spent his entire career in Kingston. From 2011-2014, Greenaway played for the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs before pursuing an education at Queen’s.

While continuing his career past graduation has always been a goal of Greenaway’s, it wasn’t until he ran into former Gael Patrick McEachen at a wedding last summer that he felt playing in Europe was a possibility.

McEachen, who played for Queen’s from 2010-14, played two seasons for Gap. After communicating back and forth and sharing his experiences, Greenaway set his eyes on European hockey.

"[McEachen] knew I was interested in playing in Europe and he’d just spent three years in France. He said, ‘Well, Darcy, go out and have a good year and I’m sure you’ll be able to come over here and play,’" Greenaway told The Journal.

Shortly after, Greenaway connected with McEachen’s agent and was being shopped to various European teams. On May 15, he signed with Gap.

"He’s a player that did very well at Queen’s and, you know, maybe if I can try and mimic his success in the pro ranks that’d be pretty cool," Greenaway said of McEachen.

While Greenaway recognizes playing overseas doesn’t equate to the NHL, he’s seeing the contract as a platform for keeping his career going. He said he hopes this will allow him to make a living through the sport.

"It’s a bit of a different path, but it’s one that can be long-term for a guy entering pro hockey," Greenaway said, explaining he’s also taking the situation year-by-year. "I’m going into it with an open mind. I’m going to go over there and work hard to prove myself."

When Greenaway departs for Gap on Aug. 5 for training camp, it’ll be a long way from the town on the St. Lawrence River where he’s spent his entire career making a name for himself. Leaving Kingston, Greenaway is aware of the difficulties that moving to another country creates—but remains full of gratitude for his time in Kingston playing hockey.

"It’s going to be a huge adjustment [and] I’ve always been around home. But it’s been so fun for me to have the opportunity to play in my hometown for so long," Greenaway said. "There’s very few guys who get that opportunity but it’s a pretty good opportunity for me [in France]."

The adjustment Greenaway foresees, however, doesn’t appear to faze him. For the 25-year-old, he’s just getting the chance to do what he loves and feels ready to do so.

"I think I’ve still got a lot of hockey left and I’m not ready to be done," Greenaway said.

"I feel ready to do this and I’m really ready to start my pro hockey career."

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