This fall, the start of a new school year will begin. Thousands of college students will meet their roommates and wonder whether the person they are going to be living with is crazy or if they are going to be best friends.
Dallas Stars prospects Reilly Smith and Curtis McKenzie know the feeling.
The two forwards, who were both drafted by the Dallas Stars in 2009, have played three years of hockey together at Miami of Ohio University and are attending the Stars 2012 Development Camp together. Their most entertaining stories, however, come from when the two are off the ice and sharing a living space.
Being someone’s roommate means learning their habits, the good and the bad, the clean and the absolutely filthy.
“It’s been a great experience having him with me (at Development Camp),” Smith said. “But it’s definitely a struggle rooming with Curtis because he is not the cleanest person. I would always have to pick up his stuff and after a while I would get tired of it. If I didn’t clean up his stuff the place would be an absolute mess.”
McKenzie had his own take on the story.
“Oh absolutely not,” McKenzie said with a wry smile. “I mean our place was messy but it was funny at the end of the season when he got called up to Dallas that was probably the cleanest our room has ever been. I think he was a part of the problem.”
Although the two may have developed a friendship over the past three years that does not mean a little friendly teasing is off limits.
“I like to mentor Curtis McKenzie,” Smith said. “Sometimes it’s like he is my little brother.”
Laughing off the dig at his teammate, Smith added,”No I’m just kidding.”
Smith is in pursuit of a Kinesiology major and McKenzie is working toward a degree in Business Management. Both have one final year to go at Miami of Ohio in order to obtain their degrees.
But Smith knows the last year can be the most daunting.
“My goal outside of hockey is to get my degree at Miami of Ohio,” he said. “I’ve finished three years and one of the biggest struggles I’ve heard from people I have talked to is getting that fourth year in.”
For McKenzie, completing his degree and working toward realizing his dream of playing professional hockey might pose some obstacles, but he is grateful for the opportunity.
“Being at Miami has just been a great time,” he said. “Talking to all my buddies, they can’t believe I get to play college hockey and that it’s at Miami on top of that. I’m in a great program, great school and a beautiful place.”
But in true Smith-McKenzie fashion, even academics are not safe from the occasional joke.
“The problem is I have a real major and his is just a blow off one,” McKenzie said. “Studying is tough with him. Whenever I try to do homework he is always in my room the whole time talking about how it’s not going to make me any better so why do it.”
Despite the friendly jabs at one another, there is no love lost between the two players.
“It’s been great,” Smith said. “One of the funniest things was when people met us a couple weeks into the year they were absolutely boggled by the idea that we didn’t know each other before we got there.
It’s been a great experience for sure.”