When the Saint Mary’s Huskies recruited Marc Rancourt, there was hardly a bidding war for his services.
“If everyone is honest, teams weren’t all over him,” recalls Huskies head coach Trevor Stienburg. “There were maybe three teams (in the country) after him.”
Rancourt was just another university recruit from the Canadian Hockey League who had produced a respectable — but hardly eye-catching — 78 points in 68 games as an over-ager with the Belleville Bulls in 2004-05.
Four seasons later, he is coming off a dominant campaign and is one of four male nominees for Canadian Interuniversity Sport’s top prize: the BLG Award for athlete of the year.
“Coming out of junior, I was just hoping to get a good education, maybe give (the Huskies) a chance at winning a championship,” Rancourt says. “But in terms of individual success, I didn’t expect to do as well as I’ve done so far.”
The six-foot-one, 200-pound forward from Gloucester, Ont., produced a nation-leading 57 points in just 28 games with the Huskies — nearly 140 points pro-rated over a junior-length schedule — and was named CIS men’s hockey MVP.
“He found a niche here,” Stienburg says. “This league was perfect for him. I don’t think anybody, himself, his parents, anybody, thought he would be as dominant as he was.”
Rancourt’s best assets are his work ethic, cerebral hockey sense and slick one-on-one stickhandling moves.
“He can blink and make guys move,” Stienburg says.
Dalhousie track-and-field star Adrienne Power captured the BLG in 2004-05 and is the only winner from a Nova Scotia school in the program’s 17 years of existence.
Rancourt, an academic all-Canadian and Dean’s List student with a dazzling 3.91 grade-point average in finance, has one season of CIS eligibility remaining. He will have the entire Saint Mary’s athletic community on the edge of its seat on Monday night when the BLG ceremony is held in Toronto.
Although Rancourt is considering playing professional hockey next season, the $10,000 post-secondary grant that comes with the award would likely keep him at Saint Mary’s.
“That’s something you’d be turning your back on if you go pro,” Rancourt says. “It would be tough to say no.”