Sylvan Lake hockey coach and teacher Cody Reynolds is thrilled to be an assistant coach with Team Alberta U16’s for this year’s Canada Winter Games in PEI.
Reynolds, who teaches Grade 8 at Fox Run School, has also been an associate coach with RDP Kings Hockey since they re-entered the ACAC in 2013.
Meanwhile, Team Alberta headed out east this past weekend to the Games, which run through March 5 and will see more than 3,600 athletes compete.
“It’s been a long journey - we started the process last April where we got together as a coaching staff,” said Reynolds. “We then scouted the Alberta Cup which was in Red Deer, and from there, we identified 80 players that we wanted to bring to a summer camp.”
That camp also took place in Red Deer for a week in July.
“We then watched them play and started to evaluate them. And from there, we narrowed it down to 33 players that we wanted to watch from the very beginning of their seasons,” he said.
“Our scouting staff did a terrific job at watching them through September, October, and November. And then at the beginning of December, we named our 20-player roster” he said.
Following this, a Christmas camp was held in Red Deer, and the guys then really started to gel together as a team, said Reynolds.
“They started to form that bond which is so important heading into a short-term competition like this.”
Meanwhile, the team left for PEI late last week and the guys were super excited about such a tremendous opportunity.
“It’s very exciting, and it’s been an awesome process. It’s gone quickly and I can’t believe it’s here!”
Reynolds said the team will be staying in Charlottetown and playing in Summerside.
‘With it being such a small island, the games are kind of spread out. I think there are some events in Nova Scotia as well, and some of the surrounding areas, too.
Being able to represent Alberta at this landmark event is certainly rewarding in and of itself.
“We’ve got such a tremendous group of players and coaching staff. Being part of this process and the amount that you learn from everybody involved - it’s just a first-class organization,” he said.
“Team Alberta treats everybody extremely well. Plus, just the whole experience of being at a Canada Winter Games - being part of something that is so big and that means so much to so many people - it’s going to be a phenomenal experience and I’m looking forward to taking it all in,” he said.
As to the team, Reynolds said they are all from Alberta but that they play all across western Canada.
As mentioned, Reynolds certainly has a busy schedule what with coaching Kings hockey at Red Deer Polytechnic along with his teaching of math and science in Sylvan, Fox Run.
Plus he’s a busy dad to three kids. “I’ve also got a beautiful wife at home who allows it all to happen - so it’s really good,” he added.
The RDP role is also fulfilling in that it allows him to work with older students, too.
“I like coaching the older men - it’s in a college environment, and obviously education is big to me,” he explained. “So I really enjoy the players, and I have a connection to RDP as well - I attended there, and met my wife here, too.
“There’s a lot of really nice connections to RDP - there’s a piece of heart here. So being part of the hockey program and being a coach there is something that I’m really proud of as well,” he said.
His own passion for hockey stretches back to his childhood.
“I was born with skates on, as they say,” he added with a laugh. “I always loved it - the game itself, but also what the game can teach you, too. I think that it teaches a humbleness - you are part of something - no one person is bigger than the event,” he explained.
“With hockey, there isn’t one person who is going to win you the games or the championships. It’s everyone together. The ability to say, what role can I play to be a bigger piece of this puzzle (is essential),” he added.
Each day - no matter what he had on his schedule - certainly provides plenty of inspiration, he said.
“I absolutely love coaching, being a small part of a team’s success, and helping guys work through stuff. That’s the best part - dealing with the people, figuring out what makes each player tick, and helping them with whatever they need.”