At 6’ 2”, 190 pounds and just 19 years old, the most interesting thing about the biography page of Will Reynish isn’t his size on a smaller statured team. It’s the birthplace—Doncaster, United Kingdom—that makes Reynish a truly unique player on this year’s Columbia Valley Rockies.
Growing up in the United Kingdom, Reynish hadn’t even heard of the sport of hockey until his parents moved the family to Fort McMurray when he was seven years old. Landing in a new country, his parents decided to signWill up for hockey as something to do outside of school to meet new people.
“It was just a shot out of the blue,” he said. “Some of my other friends were doing it and I decided to try it out.”
It wasn’t long before Reynish started carving out his talents while becoming one of the better players amongs this peers. At 14, he began playing AAA hockey for the Okotoks Oilers Bantam team before moving on to play school hockey for Edge Prep School based out of western Calgary. His first two seasons demonstrated a player growing into his skills, recording 26 points in 57 games. His final season in 2014-15 is what attracted the attention of Columbia Valley Rockies head coach Wade Dubielewicz, projecting what his future in the sport maybe.
Unfortunately for Dubielewicz and the Rockies at the time, they weren’t the only team who was interested in Reynish. The Fort McMurray Oil Barons of the Junior A Alberta Junior Hockey League had the first crack at Reynish, signing him to a contract in the spring of 2015. After working hard in spring training camp and in the summer to hone his skills, the Oil Barons decided to let Reynish go as new coaching staff didn’t see a fit for him in their lineup.
With a family property in the Windermere area, Reynish said he then got the idea to contact Dubielewicz asking him if there was still a possibility of him finding a spot on the Rockies roster to start the season. Fortunately for Reynish and the Rockies, there was.
Having spent time in the Columbia Valley before, Reynish said he was thrilled for a fresh start in on a new team.
“I was very excited because I knew a bit about the place and the team as well,” he said. “I knew it was a good place to come to develop hockey and get better and it’s a great town that’s a fun place to live in.”
In his first season in a Rockies uniform, Reynish flourished offensively, recording four goals and 13 assists in afull season of play.
With Reynish now in his second season, Dubielewicz said he is expecting him to take on a leadership role while becoming one of the top producers on a completely rebranded team. Reynish said he sees the pressure as an opportunity to grow as a player this season.
“The pressure was good for me,” he said. “I kind of had a slow start to the season, but now I’m starting to putup some points and I’m starting to feel better about myself leading this team.”
In 21 games, Reynish has now recorded four goals to go with five assists and is commonly relied upon as thet eam’s number one centre to shut down opposing team’s top lines. Dubielewicz said his size, speed and intelligence on the ice make him a valuable asset at any point of the game.
“Number one, there’s no question that he’s my most trustworthy centreman,” he said “What we hope continuesto grow is his offence; we expect him to start producing even more. I want him to maintain his intensity andcompete. He does work hard but at times, just like any kid, he stops moving his feet so that’s something as aveteran guy we want to get on him about setting an example.”
Reynish said he wants to finish out the season in a Rockies uniform battling for a playoff spot before he moveson from junior hockey to play at the Collegiate level next season. After having made a cadre of stops along hishockey career already, he said he’s comfortable ending his junior career as a member of the Columbia ValleyRockies.
“For me, it’s really easy because I have my place here and I’ve known Wade for a year and a half so it feels like home to me here,” he said.