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Skinner’s former coaches watching proudly as Oilers go for cup

Stuart Skinner successfully pulling through a rocky start in the National Hockey League and a gruelling playoffs season with the Edmonton Oilers has come as no surprise to those who coached him earlier in his career.

“Oh man, I just felt so proud of him,” Jaret Peel, the director of Louis St. Laurent’s hockey academy in Edmonton, said of Skinner’s Sunday night performance.

Playing a full 60 minutes in Game 6 against the Dallas Stars, Skinner stopped 34 of 35 shots on the Oilers’ net while the Stars outshot the Oilers three to one.

Captain Connor McDavid credited Skinner with playing a major role in the team’s victory: “We’re on a plane to Dallas (for Game 7) if it wasn’t for Stu.”

Skinner displayed the same grit as a student at Our Lady of Mount Carmel’s Hockey Academy for junior high students and Louis St. Laurent Catholic High School, which he attended for Grade 10, his former coaches told CTV News Edmonton on Monday.

“He was a great student, he worked really hard when he was on ice to improve his craft, he had lots of goals and he knew where he wanted to get to, and so he was a lot of fun to be around because he’d push the other players in our academy to do well,” Peel recalled.

The 25-year-old goalie who grew up in Edmonton was pulled in Game 3 against Vancouver in the second round of playoffs after allowing four goals on 15 shots. He was sat for Games 4 and 5, too.

“The whole playoffs and the little journey that he’s had – being pulled and then coming back – I just think it shows his character and his fortitude that he even showed here at the school,” added Louis St. Laurent head coach Blair Becker.

“It’s nice to see a kid who grew up in the area, came to school, came here, went through all the tribulations that a young player will go through, and to see him be successful in his hometown. You don’t see that very often. And we’re very proud of him.”

The coaches said Skinner is proof of what is possible.

“They look up to Stuart Skinner, saying, yes, it is possible for me to make it from this level to the next level through hard work and determination… It’s not just a dream,” Peel said.

Grade 9 goalie Parker Sneazwell said Skinner is his favourite goalie in the NHL.

“It’s pretty crazy that he did all the things that I’m doing right now and hopefully – fingers crossed – that I could be in a position like that one day,” the 14-year-old told CTV News Edmonton.

“He’s huge. He pushes me every day to go further and further. And I want to get that big mustache.”

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Matt Woodman, Darcy Seaton and Craig Ellingson 

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