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Adam Henrique’s #14 Raised in Windsor

This weekend’s All Star festivities may have meant a break from the NHL, but Adam Henrique didn’t take a break from the game.

On Sunday, the Burford, Ontario-born Henrique made his way to Windsor to join Steve Ott at the OHL game between the Windsor Spitfires and the Sarnia Sting, where their #14 was raised to the rafters to join the #14 banner bearing Ed Jovanovski’s name.

The pre-game ceremony moved both men, bringing them to tears as Spitfires fans and their respective families looked on in pride. The 24-year old Henrique became the youngest NHL player to have his number retired by his junior team, roughly two weeks before his February 6 birthday.

“I look forward to being in this city and in this arena to visit for many years to come,” Henrique said. He credits his years as a Windsor Spitfire as those that made him a man, and says that playing with the back-to-back Memorial Cup winning team was an honour he wouldn’t trade for the world. “The little things are what I will always cherish,” he said, noting that the friendships he made in Windsor still stand strong today.

Henrique’s parents and three brothers were present at the ceremony, along with his billet family. The Creviers took Henrique into their Windsor home when he was sixteen, housing a shy young man who would quietly become an integral part of the New Jersey Devils’ team, and a godfather to their young daughter. He was quiet, of course, until he became “Captain Clutch”, scoring now famous overtime winners in the 2012 playoffs against the Florida Panthers and the New York Rangers, propelling the Devils into the Stanley Cup finals.

Henrique’s charmingly humble speech was quick to pay everyone a compliment, and the Spitfires took notice, tweeting high praise of their alum. “You’d be hard-pressed to find a better guy in the game,” they wrote.

Going into the All Star break, Henrique led the struggling Devils with 26 points in 40 games (10-16–26), and is adjusting to life as a team leader in the NHL. For the Spitfires, he scored 228 points (111-117–228) in 238 games, but is best known for leading the Spits to back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010. In the latter season, he also won the Wayne Gretzky 99 Award as the MVP of the OHL Playoffs. Gretzky and Henrique both played hockey in Brantford, Ontario.

New Jersey’s Captain Clutch, it seems, has a knack for the playoffs. It’s only right that they recognize it where his post-season prosperity began.

Congratulations, Adam Henrique. An incredible honour to a great guy, and a talented player.

Erica Commisso

Erica Commisso

I am a Toronto writer with many passions - and many favourite hockey teams. I frequent Alex Mogilny highlight reels - to maintain hold of the glory days - but can also be found with my nose buried in a good book or in a mall with my wrists reddened from the strings of shopping bags.
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