By Dave Salter
Special to The Charter
What could have been a storybook finish, ended in heartbreak for local hockey product Kevin Reid.
The Norman’s Cove native just completed his first season with the Yarmouth (Nova Scotia) Mariners of the Maritime Junior Hockey League in dramatic fashion, as his club lost 4-3 in triple overtime in Game 7 of the league final.
If that wasn’t tantalizing enough, Yarmouth was edged by the club that traded Reid at the beginning of the season – the Woodstock (New Brunswick) Slammers.
When contacted a couple of days after the loss, Reid still sounded emotionally drained.
“Game Seven…I just can’t describe it. It was crazy,” said the 18-year-old, centreman.
“The atmosphere was unreal. It was like playing in an NHL game. Everyone on our team was exhausted but we kept going.”
Reid was drafted by the Slammers in the second round of the Maritime league draft, 22nd overall, in 2010 but after a handful of games in western New Brunswick, returned to Newfoundland for his final year of midget hockey. This past September, the Slammers told Reid he couldn’t crack their roster and peddled him to Yarmouth.
“Even though we lost to Woodstock, I think I proved to them that I’m a good hockey player and that Yarmouth was just as good, or better, than they were.”
Reid was an offensive-minded player throughout his minor hockey days, including a couple of campaigns with the Midget AAA Tri-Pen Frost. However, in order to make the jump to junior A hockey on a full-time basis, he changed his style of play. With the Mariners first two scoring lines already set, Reid re-invented himself as a defensive-minded, ‘energy’ player this season.
“It was a huge change for me but I realized that if I really wanted to play hockey I had to change my role,” says Reid.
“I tried to be a goal scorer but guys like that are a dime-a-dozen up here. (As a grinder) you do anything for your teammates. They know how hard you are working and they love you for it.”
With a greater focus on his play without the puck, Reid posted modest scoring statistics this season - six goals and 24 points in 49 games. The five-foot-10, 171-pounder added a goal and an assist in 13 playoff games.
But Reid’s unselfishness did not go unnoticed by Yarmouth coach/general manager Laurie Barron, who expects to reward Reid with an opportunity to contribute in a more offensively capacity next season.
“No question, he will be a big part of our team next year,” says Barron. “He’s a high energy, very skilled player and we expect him to take on more of an offensive role next year.
“We liked Kevin back at the (2010) draft but Woodstock ended up getting him. When he became available we grabbed him. He’s a great kid. The thing about Kevin…as good a player as he is, he’s an even better person.”
Reid will spend the next couple of weeks at home in Norman’s Cove before moving to St. John’s for the summer to find employment and work out with personal trainer Ryan Power. He says he learned a lot in his first season of junior hockey, particularly an old adage: “Hard work pays off,” says Reid.
“I found that hard work really separates you and people will notice that.”
Reid has also worked hard in the classroom, graduating from Crescent Collegiate in South Dildo with honours and he has his eyes set on furthering his education.
“My goal is to play three years of junior and then play Division One (college hockey) in the United States and get a degree.”