By Warren Rappleyea
Hard-working first-year winger Andrew Remer has quickly established himself as an important piece of the Junior Senators puzzle as Ottawa heads into the season’s home stretch and looks ahead to the Bogart Cup playoffs.
GM/Coach Martin Dagenais and his staff liked what they saw when they observed the youngster on the ice for Detroit Belle Tire more than a year ago. The Ottawa boss reached out to open a dialogue that eventually led to an invitation for Remer to attend camp last June. The 18-year-old impressed the coaches and was offered a spot on the Ottawa roster for the 2018-19 Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL) season.
“Andrew is the typical power forward who creates scoring chances with his willingness to go to the net,” Dagenais said. “With a little more luck, his offensive numbers would be higher. That being said, he’s a player that seems built for the playoffs. He’s physical and he doesn’t cheat so we think he can definitely help when the games become more important in March and April.”
Over 46 games, the Lake Orion, Michigan native has contributed eight goals, including a power-play tally as well as a game-winner against the Cornwall Colts, and 13 assists. He’s also picked his spots to be more physical well, having been whistled for just four minor penalties to date.
Most of Remer’s goals have come from in tight, including several off of rebounds. Quick hands, an accurate shot, and a 6-0, 185-pound body certainly help. He also seems to have a natural knack for getting free at just the right moment. It’s not, however, as easy as it looks.
“It’s all about position,” Remer explained. “You have to be able to box guys out. When you’re going against a 6-3 defenseman who outweighs you, it’s a matter of getting low on him. I do take a bit of a beating sometimes, but I get my whacks in too.”
For many hockey players the “secret sauce” is work ethic. Growing up, Remer honed his hockey skills playing in the Honeybaked organization before joining Belle Tire a year ago. All of his coaches stressed fundamentals and rewarded effort.
“You can work on skating and puck skills to get better, but you either have a work ethic or you don’t,” Remer said. “If you want to play in a fast-paced league like the CCHL that means giving 100 percent all the time. The coaches are big on that and playing the right way. That means doing the little things like getting pucks into the offensive zone or out of our own zone and creating turnovers.”
Remer admitted it took him a few games to adjust to the CCHL. He has found the level of play challenging and he enjoys playing in places like Pembroke or Brockville where the crowds can get rather loud.
“I like playing in Ottawa,” the big winger said. “It’s a great city. I really haven’t been away from home for an extended period before coming here. So it’s a totally different experience. It’s nice to be able to focus on hockey.”
An all-around athlete who played travel baseball and is a member of his high school golf team, Remer believes playing other sports—he also played lacrosse for a while—has made him a better hockey player. He notes that the element of competition is still there, while you’re able to work on different skills and look at the game from a different perspective.
In between games, practices and going to the gym, Remer is taking online courses so he can graduate from high school in June after he returns home.
Meanwhile, he’s getting ready for his next adjustment: playoff hockey, and it’s one he’s planning to meet head on.
“Everyone tells me it’s a completely different experience,” he said. “The games are low-scoring. The guys all go a little harder. It’s more physical. I’m looking forward to it.”