Doug Reid isn’t a big city guy, so life in Huntsville suits him pretty well. “I lived there my entire life,” Reid said of Innisfil, Ont. “Technically I live in Barrie, but it’s more of a country-style town and not a big city. It’s a pretty quiet town, but it’s getting bigger.”
Family was the foundation of his life growing up. “My family is very close,” Reid said. “All of my cousins live in the same town. We do a vacation every year that the whole family would go up to the cottage.” Sports is a key component, too. “My whole family is pretty competitive,” Reid said. His sister, Samantha, was a four-year defenseman at UConn.
The Reid family had bedrock values for their children. “They always taught me respect, hard work, and to never give up on anything,” Reid said. “My father always pushed me and used to always say to me, ‘If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.’ They taught me so much that it’s incredible. They have molded the person I am today, and I can’t thank them enough for doing so.”
Reid started playing hockey early in primary school. “I think I was 6. I didn’t play real, competitive hockey until I was 11 or 12,” Reid said. “Since day 1, I’ve been a forward.” Reid has bounced around the ice as a Charger, but he’s made a home at the pivot. “I like playing center. It’s a hands-on role, and you get to do more. Nine times of out ten, I play center during the year, and I’m more used to that mentality.”
After a year with the Couchiching Terriers of the OPJHL, Reid went out west to the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Grande Prairie Storm, which was an adjustment for him. “At the time it was kinda tough for me. I’d lived in the same house for my entire life,” he said. “Looking back at it now, I’m glad that I did it, because it gave me that escape from my family and being able to live on my own. I think that it was a great experience for me.”
After a year in the largest city between Edmonton and Fairbanks, Reid returned to Ontario and played two years for the Markham Waxers of the OJHL. “It was great to play out there, but I always thought that I would go away and play school hockey [after juniors], so I figured that I might as well be close to home and spend time with my family.”
Playing college was always the prime option for Reid. “My older sister had a scholarship to play at UConn,” Reid said. “Pretty much since I can remember, my dad put that thought in my head that it’s what I was going to do. I got drafted into the OHL, but that was the path that they wanted to take, and it’s obviously worked out well nicely for me.”
What brought Doug to UAH? “I think it was the change to start off,” he said. “It’s so much different than back home. I like snow, and I like everything back home, but it’s nice to be down here for a few years in this weather. I thought that it would be a good opportunity for me.”
Reid is a junior business management major. “I’ve never been a huge school guy, but I’ve got a pretty good GPA, so I’m doing pretty well.” There you go, Mr. Reid. You’ll understand that we didn’t lead with that quote.
I asked Reid to assess his development in his first two-plus years as a Charger. “I would hope to think that in all aspects of hockey and as a person that I’ve developed,” he said. “I’ve gotten physically stronger and more confident on the ice. Having different coaches has given me a look at a lot of different systems and ways to play. I feel that I’ve learned quite a bit since I’ve been here.”
Reid was a solid scorer in juniors, netting 75-106—181 in 213 GP over four seasons, but in 64 games in Blue and White, he has just two goals and six assists for a team that has truly struggled to score during his tenure. “It’s in the back of your head every single game,” Reid said. “I had no trouble scoring in juniors, but I’m not sure what it is. I think that we just need to get that monkey off of our back and let the flood gates open. It’s not just me. A lot of the other guys put up some big numbers in junior hockey, so hopefully we can get the ball rolling.”
As with our other upperclassmen, it was impossible to interview Reid and not talk about the coaching carousel. “It’s pretty up and down,” Reid said. “In juniors, you get used to it in a sense, but at the same time, you come to school and think that you’ll have one coach and be stable. It’s nerve-racking because every year you’ve got to come in and earn your spot again. You don’t know what the coaching staff is thinking. But I like where we are now with our coaching staff, and we’re going to succeed with them here.”
If you believe in the future of this team, and we do, then the focus starts with Reid, the team’s captain. Reid is the fourth consecutive junior to be named captain, following Curtis deBruyn (2011-13), Ryan Burkholder (2009-11), and Scott Kalinchuk (2007-09). “I’m a leader with the way I play,” Reid said. “I play my physical game and get the guys energy. I lead by example, and I know that the coaches and the guys in the room make sure that it’s not all on me.”
It’s a tough spot right now, as the standings show “UAH — 0-10-0”. But five minutes in a room with Doug Reid leaves you feeling that things will change, and that a large part of the load will rest across his broad shoulders.