WINSLOW — Ben Grenier never really had much of a choice. As the youngest in a pack of Grenier siblings, when his older brothers wanted to take some practice shots they enlisted Ben’s services.

“The story behind it is that I was the youngest with a bunch of older brothers,” Grenier said. “When they wanted to play hockey in the basement or wherever, they made me strap on the pads. I didn’t really have a choice. I was the goalie.”

In time, the Winslow High School senior learned to love the position and all the pressure that went along with it. He was good enough this year to backstop the Kennebec RiverHawks to the Class B North regional championship game, posting a league-best .910 save percentage among goalies who appeared in at last half of their team’s games.

For his efforts, Grenier has been selected as the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel hockey player of the year.

“You get lots of attention, and the game is always in your hands,” Grenier said of the goaltending position. “That’s what I love about it.”

Grenier’s 2.36 goals against average ranked second in Class B North, as did his three shutouts. In two playoff games, Grenier went 1-1 with a 2.87 GAA and .880 save percentage.


Making Grenier’s season all the more remarkable was the fact that he didn’t play a minute of competitive hockey as a junior after disciplinary action was taken following off-ice troubles prior to the start of the 2017-18 season.

“He was really motived to play hockey and to prove he could do it,” Kennebec coach Jon Hart said. “I think part of it was him realizing, ‘I love hockey, and this is something I want to do.’ A lot of guys vouched for him. We wanted him to play. I met with him, laid it all out for him, and he seemed motivated right from the beginning.”

“Of course it motivated me,” Grenier said. “You hear the mumbling. You hear everybody in town, saying things like, ‘Oh, he’s going to get in trouble again.’ Part of me wanted to prove people wrong.”

Grenier never missed a beat, posting back-to-back shutouts to open the season.

“I just kept working every day,” he said. “I didn’t want them to score on me, either in practice or in a game.”

“I think with Ben it’s that he really just loves to play,” Hart said. “Being the goalie defines who he is. Even in warmups he does things — somebody will shoot on him from other side of the ice when he’s down and it looks like he’s not paying attention, but he’ll throw his stick out there and knock the puck away.


“He just has a natural knack for doing special things in the net.”

Grenier opened the year with wins in six of his first seven starts, providing momentum which led the RiverHawks to their first regional final appearance as a co-op program.

“I don’t know if ‘surprised’ is the right word for it,” Grenier said of how well his season went. “But I didn’t expect this much success.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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