Chenard finishes up ACAC career this weekend after breaking records in consecutive weekends
By Jadon Frank
Briercrest goaltender Jesse Chenard has been the back bone of the Briercrest Clippers hockey team for five seasons, providing stability and helping them get to the playoffs during the 2008-09 season.
Chenard has had an exciting two weeks as his ACAC career draws to a close. February 1, 2013, in front of a home crowd in Caronport he became the all-time saves leader in ACAC history with his 3,450th save. With that save he surpassed his former teammate from his first season at Briercrest, Shane Marsh. The following weekend against Augustana, by making save 1,050, he shattered a 12-year record for saves in a season that was set by Grant MacEwan’s Scott Reid.
The fifth year player already has nearly twice as many saves as any other goalie in the ACAC this season and he has two more games remaining to build on both records this weekend.
In his first year coaching in the ACAC, Briercrest hockey coach Dalton Stoltz has felt fortunate to have Jesse on his roster.
“Jesse has been the backbone of this program for us all year,” Stoltz said. “He will be hard to replace.”
After completing a successful junior career that included stops in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and finally back in his home province of Alberta, Chenard brought his trade to Briercrest for the 2008-09 season. His junior career included helping Canada win its first medal at the USA Junior Inline Festival as well as an incredible final season with the Bonnyville Pontiacs in the Alberta Junior Hockey League where he had four shutouts, 23 wins and a .920 save percentage in 44 games. Upon moving to Caronport he quickly experienced what makes Briercrest special.
“What brought me to Briercrest was the chance to play at a small school where you can get to know everyone,” Chenard explained. “It is nice not to get lost as a number. My favourite moment at Briercrest, by far, would be my first game in the Barkman Arena. It was sold out. It was just so loud in there. We couldn’t hear anything on the ice it was so loud. It was a great experience.”
The business administration student-athlete, specializing in marketing, has noticed some special characteristics in his team at Briercrest.
“Everyone is so close, you can talk to anyone,” Chenard said. “It is just a good young group of guys that work hard.”
The Camrose, Alberta native is quick to point to his former teammates when asked about his biggest strengths as a player.
“As a player, my biggest strength is just throwing out pad stacks, which I learned from the great Tyler Esau,” Chenard jokes. “I played with him for two years (2010-12); I learned everything I know from him. What I bring to the team is experience and a calming presence.”
Coach Stoltz has observed good qualities in Chenard that go beyond the rink.
“Jesse has character that is admired by people all over campus,” Stoltz explained.
As his ACAC career draws to a close Chenard shares his goals for this season and beyond.
“As a student I want to get the best marks I can and get a degree,” Chenard explained. “As an athlete, eventually try to get a pro contract in the Central Hockey League or somewhere in Europe. If money wasn’t an issue I would play hockey all winter and then spend my summers on the lake.”
Chenard can be proud of the foundation that he helped build in Caronport, and of course his two ACAC records. He will be remembered as one the greatest goalies that Briercrest has ever had, a workhorse that provided stability and confidence to those around him.