Eric Reid has been attending Virden Oil Capitals games since the team moved to town when he was nine.
“I've wanted to wear the jersey ever since,” he said.
The son of Kent and Rochelle Reid has earned that opportunity. The 17-year-old goaltender has signed a letter of intent to suit up for the Manitoba Junior Hockey League franchise next season.
“I'm just real excited about the chance to play for my hometown team,” said the Grade 12 Virden Collegiate Institute student. “I'm familiar with a lot of the guys on the team and I want to help them bring a league championship to town.”
The Oil Caps are pleased to add Reid.
“Eric is another hometown player and we have watched him grow as a player and a person over the last couple of seasons,” Virden head coach Tyson Ramsey said on the team’s website. “He not only is developing into a great goaltender, but he is a quality, hard-working person and he is exactly the kind of kid we want to build our hockey team around. This is an exciting day for us, and we can’t wait to see Eric on the ice with us shortly.”
Reid has developed his game in Virden Minor Hockey, with the Southwest Cougars U15 AAA program, the VCI high school hockey squad, and, in the last couple seasons, the Southwest Cougars U18 AAA team. When this season as halted, he had a 3.15 goals against average and a .883 save percentage. Last season he posted an impressive 19-9 record.
Reid was in camp with the Oil Caps last fall. He saw action in a couple of preseason contests. What did he notice that was different at the junior level from U18 play?
“The biggest difference is the speed that things happen,” Reid said. “Everything is definitely a few seconds faster and sometimes the shots sting a little longer. Other than that, my job is the same in junior as it is in U18.”
Throughout his hockey career, Reid has had the backing of his parents.
“They have always supported me 100 per cent with my hockey, all the practices and hours in the car,” he said. “My mom is hands down my biggest fan. My dad has been a great coach to me all the way through.”