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Time on farm has helped toughen Oshawa's Jenner

by Mike G. Morreale
TORONTO -- As the youngest of three brothers, Boone Jenner always had to have eyes in the back of his head. After all, you never know when the next bale of hay could be headed in your direction.

Jenner's family owns and operates a cattle farm in Dorchester, Ont., a little town nestled just east of London. As a youngster, he spent a lot of time outside working on the farm. Even today, there's no excuse for not chipping in despite the fact he's on the verge of becoming the first of the Jenner clan to reach the NHL.

"We grew up on a farm just outside of Dorchester … a bunch of beef cows," Jenner told "About 100 Angus cows; it was fun. Looking back, it made me a better person all-round with all the chores I had to do and stuff. It was a lot of fun. People think you get up early, but we only needed to get up early some mornings. It really wasn't too bad."

What were bad were the ribbings his older brothers, Leo and Cole, gave him every time they laced on the skates to play shinny on a nearby pond.

"Looking back, it made me a better person all-round with all the chores I had to do and stuff. It was a lot of fun. People think you get up early, but we only needed to get up early some mornings. It really wasn't too bad."
-- Boone Jenner, on growing up on the family's cattle farm

"I had skates on for as long as I can remember and my brothers were 3 and 4 years old when I was born, so my dad got me into it right away," Jenner said. "Having two older brothers was an influence. They made me a better hockey player. I'd always compete with them and they'd give me tips on how the next level would be. One is pretty big, and I actually played against him last year."

Leo Jenner, the oldest of the boys, is a 6-foot-4 1/4, 225-pound defenseman for the Plymouth Whalers in the Ontario Hockey League. But when Boone, a 6-1, 192-pound center with the Oshawa Generals went head-to-head with his big brother, he held his own.

"I've always seen myself as a two-way center who can do it all -- hit, score, play special teams and be a big part of a team leading by example," Jenner said. "I look to pattern my game like (Philadelphia's) Mike Richards. I've been compared to him a bit, so he's a great player and I like watching him."

Jenner has proven to be a pretty nimble playmaker and has notched more than his share of game-winning goals, in addition to blocking shots and delivering crunching hits.

Jenner showcased that energy as a rookie in Oshawa last season. He was named to the OHL All-Rookie Team and was runner-up for the OHL's Rookie of the Year Award after producing 19 goals, (8 on the power-play) and 49 points, second among all first-year OHL players. He's rated as a top prospect for the 2011 Entry Draft, to be held in St. Paul, Minn., next June.

"Boone was very noticeable as an underage player," NHL Central Scouting's Chris Edwards, who specializes in evaluating OHL players, told "He had a good year. He's got good size … he has that power-forward mentality and likes to bang around. Oshawa struggled at times last year and he had growing pains, but I think we're all expecting him to produce and improve even more over last year."

Jenner also represented gold medal-winning Canada at the 2010 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, scoring 2 goals in five games, and captained Team Ontario to a silver medal at the 2010 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. Prior to being drafted fourth overall in the 2009 OHL Priority Selection by the Generals, Jenner starred in AAA hockey with the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs -- where he racked up 49 goals, 103 points and 72 penalty minutes in 54 games.

"My first year in Oshawa was very exciting … it was tough to figure out expectations," Jenner admitted. "It's faster and stuff, but I thought I did pretty good to help the team win. It would be a huge honor just to be drafted in any round by any team. That's what I'm hoping for."

For now, though, he'll continue to make his mark in the OHL. Having an opportunity to showcase his competitive edge to NHL scouts, general managers and coaches at the 2010 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp Fueled By G Series on Wednesday and Thursday was a good start to what many feel will be a breakout season.

"No matter where or what type of game it is, I just want to play my game and that was my intention at the RDO Camp," Jenner said. "I know we all had to adjust to the rule changes they wanted to try, but I'll have to adjust. I don't think that'll change too much."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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