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Reid Duke: 7 Fun Facts

Get to know the first player in Golden Knights history

by Dan Marrazza @GoldenKnights / VegasGoldenKnights.com

And the first player in Vegas Golden Knights history is….Reid Duke?

Stand up if you had that one in your office pool.

Okay, sit back down, because we all know this isn't true.

Hardly a household name on a national scale, Duke, a high-scoring forward with the Western Hockey League's Brandon Wheat Kings, defied the odds by becoming the first player in Vegas Golden Knights history on Monday.

But who is Reid Duke?

Here are seven other things to know.

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Tweet from @GoldenKnights: The Golden Knights have made the first player transaction in team history & signed forward Reid Duke. More: https://t.co/CnhTkZe38y pic.twitter.com/gr3ygg24Z1

 

1. Duke has played the past three seasons for the Western Hockey League's Brandon Wheat Kings.

For the first two of those seasons (2014-15 & 2015-16), his coach with the Wheat Kings was Kelly McCrimmon, who is now the assistant general manager of the Golden Knights. McCrimmon continues to own the Wheat Kings while currently employed by the Golden Knights, meaning that the Vegas front office is intimately familiar with what Duke can bring to the table.

RELATED: Golden Knights sign Reid Duke

"I think what's impressive with Reid is a real high skill level and yet a guy that's able to play a big, strong, heavy game," McCrimmon said. "When we project Reid, we think his game will evolve as he becomes a pro. We believe he's going to be an NHL player.

"It's real exciting for us to be bringing Reid into the Golden Knights organization."

 

Tweet from @TheWHL: Redi Duke scores the overtime winner. Brandon is now one win away from the Ed Chynoweth Cup. #WHLChampionship pic.twitter.com/bleI96UMV3

 

Duke currently has 35 goals in 54 games, after registering 33 goals (62 points) last year, and 20 goals (51 points) the year before.

2. Duke was part of the Wheat Kings team that won a WHL championship in 2015-16, before falling in the Memorial Cup, which is the championship round of all Canadian major junior hockey.

He recorded 24 points (8g, 16a) in 21 playoff games in 2015-16.

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3. Has several teammates with NHL ties in Brandon.

They included defenseman Ivan Provorov, now of the Philadelphia Flyers, and forward Nolan Patrick, who is widely seen as the probable first overall pick in this June's NHL Entry Draft.

Much of the positive elements of Duke's improvement is linked with his 2014 trade to Brandon. He had previously skated for the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who at the time were struggling in the standings. When traded to a team at the top of the standings, Duke's skills immediately began improving.

Watch a profile of Duke during his time with Lethbridge below.

 

Watch: Youtube Video 

 

4. The Golden Knights had their eye on Duke since last September, when he participated in the Traverse City prospect tournament as an invitee of the New York Rangers.

"Obviously, I have a connection to Reid, an affiliation with Reid," McCrimmon said. "But Reid's a player that was identified by (Director of Player Development) Wil Nichol. Wil was really the guy that was eager to continue evaluating Reid over the course of the season."

Earlier last summer, Duke had participated in development camp as an invitee of the Montreal Canadiens.

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5. Brandon, Man., where Duke plays for the Wheat Kings, is the second largest city in the province of Manitoba with a population of about 50,000.

The Wheat Kings, his team, have been a junior squad since 1936.

In the offseason, Duke lives in Calgary, which is his hometown.

 

Video: Watch highlights of the Golden Knights' Reid Duke 

 

6. When he was born on January 28, 1996, Las Vegas' top hockey team was the IHL's Thunder.

At the time of Duke's birth, the Thunder, destined for a first-place finish that season, were in the midst of a three-game winning streak where they defeated the Cleveland Lumberjacks, Phoenix Roadrunners and Utah Grizzlies.

7. When performing a Google search of Reid Duke's name, he is not the first Reid Duke to surface.

The other Reid Duke is a prominent Magic: The Gathering player who won the national Magic: The Gathering Online Championship in 2011. The two Reid Dukes are not related.

 

Tweet from @ReidDuke: Wow, fifty million notifications about the other Reid Duke (hockey player) doing something awesome. Staying off Twitter for a while!

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