by Mike Benton, Special to SJSHARKS.comPENTICTON, Canada
– It’s as traditional for a player as the pregame nap, pasta lunch and stretching: tickets for family.
After skating in the junior ranks for the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League three seasons ago, San Jose Sharks prospect and forward Brodie Reid
certainly knows that drill by now, based on the contingency following him at the 2011 YoungStars Tournament at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
"It's pretty cool,” said Reid. “I have a lot of family close by and living here for a year was a great experience. It's pretty cool being back here."
With about 15 tickets reserved for his first game in a Sharks uniform during the tournament opener against the Calgary Flames, those friends and family have witnessed an epic start during Reid’s infancy with the Sharks.
They had plenty to cheer about, when he bagged a goal and an assist in a 6-1 Sharks rout of the Flames on Sunday.
“It kind of feels like I’m back home, playing hockey,” said the wide-eyed Reid, who found it hard to contain a smile while returning to familiar stomping grounds. “It’s been a lot of fun.”
As a budding 22-year old right winger who entered the Sharks system via a signed contract on April 15, he brings a 6-foot-1, 195-pound frame into the collection of Sharks depth. Armed with a noticeable skill package, he only needed one season of the college game at Northeastern University to lure the call from the NHL ranks.
A total of 28 points in 37 games, ranking fourth in team scoring, did the trick of opening the door of opportunity. Not too long after the season’s conclusion, he was on the phone with the Sharks.
It’s pretty easy to acknowledge what Reid’s “welcome to the NHL” moment was.
"I think the biggest moment was talking with (Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager) Doug Wilson on the phone and hearing how much they trusted me,” said Reid. “It's pretty unique getting a GM of one of the best organizations in the NHL telling me how much they want me to come sign with them."
Wilson complimented an assortment of attributes that Reid possesses, who is now placed among a host of talented Sharks rookies battling for position within the organization’s depth chart.
“(He has) maturity to his game,” said Wilson. “He can shoot the puck. He’s a good hockey player. You watch him out there and he’s got poise and patience. That often comes from having a good hockey IQ.”
Among many of the benefits of being able to slip on a jersey with the Sharks crest during rookie camp is taking to the ice with credentialed coaches and staffers.
Mike Ricci, now serving the Sharks in a Development Coach capacity and Bryan Marchment, joining the team during tournament week in his scouting and player development role, have helped in the fast-paced education of Reid in his professional journey.
“They’re down to earth guys,” said Reid. “They’re friendly, easy to get along with and they’re almost like one of the guys. You can ask them anything and they’re not afraid to tell you if you’re messing up or doing something right. It’s more of a comfort level, I think, with them.”
Through nearly a full week of skating, drills and tournament games, a multitude of information has flooded Reid from the Sharks staff, who inject the playing philosophy into each prospect every day via the white board and a white sheet of ice.
The mind has been very occupied, as a result, for Reid and his learning curve while attempting to move up the ranks in his home province of British Columbia. Yet, he admitted top notch communication from his tutors, which has helped his athletic growth proceed smoothly.
“They explain it easily for us so everyone gets it,” said Reid. “You just have to pay attention to close details. All the little things matter in the system. You just have to go out there, do what they tell you to do, and it ends up working well.”
The newly signed professional declined to measure himself up to other Sharks players in the system, but his goal remains simple: make the impression of a lifetime.
“I’m just trying to see where they like me and where they fit me in,” said Reid. “Ultimately my goal is to crack the lineup one day. I’m just going to work hard every day and see where the road takes.”
That road begins in a familiar setting, where he’s hit the ground running.