Rode

Reid made quick impression with hockey Red Deer Polytechnic Queens

The fact RDP Queens hockey head coach Kelly Coulter has a solid reputation among U18AAA coaches is definitely a benefit.

Coaches know they’re sending their athletes to not only a highly-regarded program but a well-respected institution.

Such was the case of Brenna Reid where the rapport between Coulter and Edmonton Pandas head coach Joel Lenius paid off in bringing the talented first-year five-foot-two centre onto the roster.

“We scout the Alberta U18AAA League as much as we can, and it helps in that we have a team (Red Deer Sutter Fund Chiefs) playing in our barn, so we knew about Brenna,” said Coulter. “There were other teams interested in her, including some U-Sport teams, but because of Covid there weren’t a lot of openings, thankfully for us.

“The fact we have a good rapport with Joel there’s a trust factor between us and we know the players he sends us can play.”

Brenna committed to RDP early in 2021 after talking with Kelly.

“I held out for a long time to see who was interested in me,” she explained. “I was registered at several schools but was waiting for a coach to see me, but because of Covid it was tough, so when Kelly contacted me it was a good situation.”

Reid played U15AAA and U18AAA with the Pandas, one of the top programs in the province.

“Joel does a great job developing his players skill level,” said Coulter. “He has a good program which helps in that you know when you bring in a player who don’t need to spend time on developing skill. It’s a matter of teaching our style.”

Brenna quickly caught the RDP coaches attention on the first day of camp.

“The first thing that stood out was how good of shape she was in despite missing almost a full year because of Covid,” said Coulter. “She passed all our fitness benchmarks, which told me of her character. That was our first interaction and she made an impact. It shows why she wore a letter.”

Reid was an assistant captain the last two years with the U18AAA Pandas, including the 2019-20 season when the Pandas should have competed in the national final if not for the pandemic.

“I enjoy being counted on as a leader and would like to be that with the Queens,” she said.

Brenna comes from an athletic family where her mom (Laurie) and dad (Todd), older sister (Devyn) and brother (Kobe) all played hockey.

“They didn’t play at the college level, but all played and that was why I got involved,” she said.

Brenna started playing Timbits when she was “four or five” and got into the girls hockey around age seven.

In junior high she played a number of sports and was the athlete of the year for three straight years.

“In Grade 10 I played soccer, but the next two years were cancelled because of Covid so I just concentrated on hockey,” explained the 18-year-old, whose natural position is centre.

“I’ve played wing a bit, but mainly centre,” she said.

She’s an excellent skater with a high level of competitiveness.

“I feel I’m a good skater and have a high hockey IQ,” she said. “I see myself as a competitor, hard-working with a positive outlook.”

Coulter agrees.

“We started her on the wing just to see what everyone brought, but when we moved her to centre you could see she was a natural,” he said. “Her strongest asset is her skating … she’s fantastic, also moves the puck well and thinks the game well both on offence and defence. She also very competitive and plays with drive.”

Reid indicated last year, when the Pandas managed to play just four games, gave her even more incentive this year.

“Not playing was tough and motivated me … I love the game even more.”

This year the Queens, like all the RDP teams, played their exhibition schedule with no fans.

“That was tough, not having anyone in the stands and for me especially not having my parents there,” she said.

The Queens played a major role in putting together a petition to bring fans back.

“I wasn’t part of that group, but we discussed it and it’s been great having them back,” she said.

The second half of the season is starting off slowly with games being postponed with record-high number of COVID-19 infections in the community.

“We’re being rapid tested this week and for a couple more just to make sure we can practice and hopefully play,” Brenna said.

The Queens played three regular season games prior to the break with Reid notching her first ACAC goal.

“I was happy to see that,” she said. “I felt I was in a bit of a slump. It takes some pressure off for sure.”

Brenna is taking kinesiology which could mean her spending just two years with the Queens. However, that may change.

“I’m not completely positive what my career path may be so I could change and be here longer,” she said.

Coulter certainly hopes so.

Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter and member of the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame who can be reached at danrode@shaw.ca

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