Renfrew – Two natives of Renfrew who grew up attending the same school and playing minor hockey together for several years are celebrating their selection in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) draft which began virtually Saturday.

Kent Greer, 16, son of Corey and Kim Greer, and Kale Osipenko, 15, son of Steve and Ruby Osipenko, were selected in the second and seventh rounds, respectively, in Saturday’s draft.

Kent Greer.

A 5’9”, 160-pound defenceman, Kent was selected 29th overall by the North Bay Battalion and Kale, the 5‘7”, 124-pound goalie, was selected 126th overall by the Sarnia Sting.

Both players are products of the Renfrew Minor Hockey Association where they played through the major novice program before joining the Ottawa Valley Aces for several seasons.

Kent joined the Ottawa Valley Titans for the 2021-2022 season, playing 30 regular and four playoff games with the Titans U14 AAA squad, registering 11 goals and 33 assists in regular season play. In five play-off games, he had two goals and four assists. He also suited up for five regular season and two play-off games with the Titans U15AAA squad, registering one goal and two assists in regular season play, and two assists in the playoffs.

The following year he joined the Pittsburgh Penguins NEPACK 14U team, registering four goals and seven assists in 12 games. He graduated to the Pittsburgh Penguins 14U AAA quad, registering 16 goals and 40 assists in 58 games.

In 2023-2024, he returned to Canada, and in 30 regular games played with the Barrie Colts 14U AAA, he collected 14 goals and 25 assists. In 10 playoff games, he scored five goals and eight assists.

In other post-season play in 2022-2023 with the CCM All Out U15 he scored six goals and had 12 assists in nine games played. In five games with the Penguins US 14 U Nationals he had one goal and seven assists. In 2023-2024 at the OHL Cup U16 Barrie AAA tournament he had seven assists in five games.

“Kent is a guy that can provide a lot of mobility back there,” Battalion GM Adam Dennis was quoted as saying. “He is a guy more known for his offence.

“I think he made a lot of strides with coach Lindsay Hofford (in Barrie),” he added. “Greer is getting his game rounded and is getting a bit more ready for our level.”

Kent started skating at an early age, inspired by his two older brothers, Jayce and Reid, who both played Junior B hockey. In addition, his father was heavily involved with hockey as a coach and a former owner of the now defunct Kanata Lasers organization, which he sold to Ryan Leonard to operate as the Renfrew Wolves.

“I was always skating on the outdoor rink with my mom when I was around three, and then I joined IP hockey at four.”

A former forward, he switched to defence three or four years ago, after someone suggested he try the position.

“I like it a lot, so I kept it,” he said.

After his first year with the Titans, he joined the Pittsburch Penguins NEPACK 14U team where two of his older friends played the previous year.

“They went down there to visit and see how the program was and one of their coaches said they needed a 2008 (birth year) forward and defenceman and they called me and my friend Alex McLean. We went down for a tour and it was a great organization, so I decided to go.”

The idea of moving away from home at age 14 was both a little scary and exciting for him, but the impact was lessened as his mom made the move with him for the year he was there.

“I felt pretty comfortable. I got to meet a lot of the guys beforehand,” he noted. “It was a great experience.”

He returned to Canada for the OHL draft, having been offered a spot in Barrie for the 2023-24 season. He had spoken with quite a few OHL teams and was quite excited to be picked when he was.

“I think North Bay really stuck out to me as a great organization and a team that knows me well as a player and knows what I can do.”

He and his family travelled to North Bay last weekend for a play-off game and he got to talk to the team management and briefly meet the players.

“They were super welcoming,” he remarked. “It was awesome.”

He has an orientation camp for all the rookies in two weeks and then a development camp in June and the main camp in August. If he is not successful in making the roster, he hopes to be with North Bay’s junior team or with the Junior A Wolves in Renfrew.     

He described himself as an offensive defenceman, who patterns his game after Adam Fox of the New York Rangers

“He’s an offensive defenceman but he can also play defence.”

He believes his strength is his skating and his hockey IQ and the area he needs to get stronger and faster to play at the next level.

“It’s going to be a big jump.”

He took a break for a few weeks after the season ended and recently resumed training in Ottawa with Senators skating coach Shelley Kettles who has been really good for him. 

Kent said it was great to see his friend, Kale picked the same day.

He acknowledged the great support he has received from his parents throughout his young career.

“They’ve always been there for me and I was fortunate that they always supported me moving everywhere and playing on a bunch of different teams. And my siblings come and watch me every year.”

He said Cobden’s Jack Quinn was a huge inspiration for him.

“He went through my dad’s organization with the Kanata Lasers and seeing him come from AA hockey with the Aces and never making AAA was pretty crazy to me. He got drafted to his hometown team in Ottawa (67’s) and I got to watch him a lot and he was always a mentor of mine.

 “He took me down to the locker room in Ottawa and little things like that that were pretty important to me,” he continued.   

MVP in 2024

Kale spent the three years after peewee playing in the Ottawa Valley Titans organization, graduating from U14AAA to U15AAA, and most recently U16AAA. In 2021-2022  he posted a 10-2-5 record  and had a 2.50 Goals Against Average in 16 games.

Kale Osipenko.

 This past season, he had a 12-5-2 record and a 2.68 GAA in 17 games with the 2023-2024 Titans U16 AAA. At the 203-2024 OHL Cup, he had a 1-2 record with a 4.01 GAA in three games. He was named team MVP for this year as well.

Selected by the Sting, Kale will be under the tutelage of former NHL’er and Renfrew native, Al Letang, head coach of the Sting.

He said draft day was very exciting for him and he was delighted his pal, Kent was selected as well.

He started playing organized hockey at age seven and played through his major novice year and then joined the Aces program, until he joined the Titans for his U14 season in 2021-2022. He was inspired to play hockey by his older brother, Kolton, who played in the minor system and Aces as well.

Kale said he had talked to a few teams prior to the draft, one of them being Sarnia.

“I know they’re a good organization and the coach, Al, is from down here,” he noted.

He has spoken with Letang, adding he was notified he had been selected by one of the team scouts.

He said he has always been inspired by former Montreal Canadiens goalie, Corey Price.

“He made some amazing saves,” he remarked.

Kale said there was really no one defining moment that being drafted was a possibility, adding he knew from a very young age that this was what he wanted to do.    

He said he is hoping to grow some more and add some weight as he heads to the next level.

He believes his competitive nature and speed are some of his strongest assets and he will need to understand how to play once he grows more.

He has been at a camp for the Junior A Wolves in Renfrew and heads to the orientation camp for the Sting on May 3 and 4, followed by the rookie camp and main camp in August. If he doesn’t land a spot with the Sting, he hopes to play junior in Renfrew.

Kale credited Corey Greer for being a big reason for his success.

“He’s been a mentor and he’s been my coach from novice through AA. He taught me things, he always helped me out, and he got me seen.

“And he has always believed in me,” he added.

He had no goal as to where he might get picked in the draft, saying he was just anxious to be picked.

Kale acknowledged the great support his parents have offered.

“They’ve driven me all around, especially to Ottawa where we practice. It’s a 45-minute to an hour drive, then games can be up to two hours, so I really owe a lot of credit to them.

“And paying for the things I need,” he added. “They’ve been amazing.”    

A release from the Sting noted their Ottawa-area scout, Nathan Hisko, is actually Kale’s teacher  and knows the family well.

“He is easily the most competitive goalie in this draft class,” said Sting GM Dylan Seca. “He took his team through to the Ottawa-area championships.”

Seca described Kale as competitive and quick.

“His vision, his tracking is elite,” he noted.