He spent five seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), and skated another four years with Acadia Axmen, and while he loves the competitive aspect of the game, Mount Pearl H.J. Bartlett Blades rookie defenceman Tyler Reid admits he never gave professional hockey much of a thought.
“As a 20-year old, I wasn’t drafted and there were no pro teams knocking down the door,” said the now 28-year-old from Kirkland, Que., just outside Montreal.
“I had an opportunity for an athletic scholarship and probably the best opportunity was to get my education and play some great hockey, because university is great hockey.
“That seemed like the most natural fit for me,” Reid said.
Reid moved to St. John’s about two years ago, but he didn’t bother playing hockey because he was focused on his career and getting a job and, besides, he didn’t know that much about the local Avalon East senior hockey scene.
He met his fiancee, Tara Ruth, a Newfoundlander, while they were attending Acadia and they decided that this province was the best option for job opportunities, said Reid, who teaches at Frank Roberts Junior High in Foxtrap in Conception Bay South.
He explained that when he, “settled in,” he touched base with the Blades’ Brian Sutherland, who played with Reid at Acadia, and with H. J. Bartlett Mount Pearl Blades vice-president and general manager, Jim Hare.
“I definitely missed the game when I stepped away from it,” he said. “I’ve always liked the competitive aspect of hockey … the contact, the intensity of the playoffs, the excitement associated with hockey.
“So,” he said, “it was nice to get back into that. It’s excellent hockey here … a lot of good players. Good fun and a good way to stay in shape.”
Reid’s five-year junior hockey career included stints with Halifax Mooseheads, Acadie-Bathurst Titan and Hull Olympics where, as an over-ager, he made it to the Memorial Cup before losing in the final to Kitchener Rangers.
“It was a great year,” recalls Reid, who says playing in the ‘Q’ and then going on to play with Acadia in the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) conference were, “both great experiences in different ways.”
The 6-1, 185-pounder comes across as a smart young man and that’s exactly how he plays the game, according to Hare.
“We found out about Tyler about half-way through the summer,” Hare said. “We met with him and we’re certainly glad to have him on our team.
“He’s been getting better with every shift … from the first practice to the last game,” noted Hare.
“You could tell there was a little rust to begin with, but you could also see the talent and it’s showing now.”
As a relative unknown in these parts, Reid was not on the Blades’ radar when management met in August to go over a list of potential players.
So, in many ways, Reid has been a pleasant surprise.
“He’s made a huge impact already. He plays the power play and penalty kill along with a regular shift.
“He makes very smart plays from his own end and his first pass is a very good one,” noted Hare.
“I think I’ve always been sort of a defence-first type of player,” said Reid. “I always pride myself in being the type of player who can play in a lot of different situations.
“I’m not as sharp as I used to be,” he admitted. “It’s not exactly my number one priority anymore, but it’s still fun and I still enjoying coming to the rink, for sure.”
When it was pointed out that Reid only has four assists so far this season, Hare was quick to respond: “Offence will win you games, defence will win you championships.”
Mount Pearl takes on Conception Bay North EastLink CeeBee Stars in Subway Avalon East Senior Hockey League play 7:30 tonight at the Glacier.