The Spoken Chiefs appreciate Virden’s Grady Lane for several reasons.
“Grady ticks a lot of boxes,” Chiefs head coach Ryan Smith said. “He’s one of the most honest players that I’ve been around and coached … He knows who he is and plays to his strengths. He’s a very good teammate. He holds players accountable.”
The 19-year-old son of Craig and Stacey Lane is starting his third season with the Washington state-based Chiefs in the Western Hockey League. After having his WHL rookie campaign shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 6-foot-1 ½, 191-pound forward scored two goals and recorded nine points in 42 contests last season in a campaign in which he missed time with an injury. Lane does not shy away from the dirty areas of the ice and physical play. He was second on the squad with 79 penalty minutes last season. “He finishes every check he can,” Smith said. “He’s a hard player to play against. I know he gets into the opponents’ minds. … He goes to the front of the net. He stirs it up. He knows how to right a wrong.”
An injury sustained on Oct. 29 kept Lane out of the lineup until Jan. 14. Instead of returning to Manitoba to recover, he opted to stay in Spokane and do his work there. Lane rehabbed while his teammates got their workouts in and he was around them as much as he could be.
“I think that was a big part … You are still in the right headspace with the guys.”
At one game during the season when Lane was not in the line up and sitting in the stands, a young fan came over. He told Lane that his name was also “Grady.” The Chiefs forward shook the fan’s hand and asked him to join him to watch the game. The boy’s father expressed appreciation on social media later.
“With me growing up going to (Brandon) Wheat Kings games, if one of the guys did that I’d be through the roof,” Lane said.
Whether it was taking him to watch games or doing the countless other tasks that come with being a hockey parent, Lane appreciates all that his family has done for him.
“I’ll never be able to repay them for what they’ve done,” he said. “My mom and dad always driving me to practices and paying for everything that comes with the sport. My sister (Holly) also being a support and being able to talk to her – the same with both of my parents. They all are the reason why I am where I am. I’m super thankful for that.” Last season Lane got his first taste of major junior playoff action. The Chiefs fell to the Kamloops Blazers in the conference quarterfinals.
“It was an awesome experience. … You definitely got to change your style of play. If you make a mistake, it’s likely going to end up the back of your net. … It was really cool and hopefully we can get some more of that this year and go deeper.”
Smith emphasized that team success is Lane’s concern – first and foremost.
“He’s team-first guy,” the coach said. “He wants the team to win. He’s not worried about scoring or how many shifts he got … He just wants to win. He’s a real competitor. He always puts his team and teammates first."