Reid Valade has spent a lot of his life at The Aud, but not the one you may be thinking of.
“Just the other day my uncle texted me a photo of my cousins in their basement. They taped a Rangers logo on the middle of the floor where we always play mini sticks— They call it The Aud,” laughed Reid. “They don’t step on the logo either. They told their parents that they owe them $1 if they do.”
Reid and his two younger cousins, Wesley and Reese, have some pretty intense mini stick battles in their ‘Aud.’
Growing up in a big hockey family, Reid always knew the game was going to be a big part of his life. Although he grew up only an hour away from Kitchener in Caledon, Reid never had the opportunity to take in any Kitchener Rangers games. But he knew it was somewhere he might get the chance to play one day.
“As a kid, especially going into my draft year, the Rangers were one of the teams that I was constantly hearing great things about. Everyone knows Kitchener is one of the better and classier organizations, so to hear my name called to play for them was a huge honour.”
Getting drafted in the 1st round and going 17th overall in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection is something that Reid and his family will never forget. Sitting in his living room with his dad, mom and two brothers, Reid got the call that would change his life and be the first stepping stone towards his future hockey career.
“It was so awesome,” smiled Reid. “You hear possibilities of getting drafted throughout your whole minor midget career, but people talk about how you may or may not go first round. When you hear your name get called it’s the best feeling.”
This wasn’t the only big moment for Reid in 2018. Reid was selected to participate in the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in New Brunswick for Team Canada Black— which is happening this weekend. But he wasn’t the only blue shirt who got the call, Donovan Sebrango did too.
“It is an honour to be chosen. Donovan and I went to the camp this summer in Calgary, and I thought I did well out there, but it was nerve-racking because there are so many great players,” said Reid. “Hearing my name called was pretty cool, especially hearing Donovan’s name as well and being able to play on the same team makes it that much better.”
Reid and Donovan took the same flight out to New Brunswick, and they even made time to help each other pack.
“We are both pretty bad packers, so we weren’t much help to each other,” Reid laughed.
Getting to dress for Team Canada no matter what the tournament is a huge milestone in any player’s career and this opportunity genuinely humbles Reid.
“It is a great experience to be able to play against other countries’ best players and see where you match up against them,” said Reid. “It is always an honour to represent your nation.”
The experience Reid will gain this weekend at the U17’s is invaluable, and he hopes to bring some of that back to East Ave.
“I want to contribute any way that I can,” said Reid. “Whether that means scoring a goal, or just bringing energy to every shift, night in and night out. I want to be able to make an impact in the game and give our team any opportunity I can to win.”