From Athens Messenger
By Allan Brown
In his first season sporting an OU Bobcats’ sweater, Luc Reeve is taking no prisoners as he punishes his opponents on the ice with both his shooting and scoring prowess.
In fact, if the Oxford Dictionary ran a photo next to its definition of ‘take no prisoners,’ Reeve could easily volunteer to be the poster boy for it.
That definition is to ‘be ruthlessly aggressive or uncompromising in the pursuit of one’s objectives.’
Minus the ruthless part — though some of Reeve’s opponents might beg to differ on that — the center Ice ‘Cat is the personification of the description of those words.
As the Bobcats’ current leader in both points and assists, Reeve’s grit has been on full display each game as he fulfills an almost-lifelong dream.
“I knew I wanted to play hockey at the collegiate level when I was probably around eight,” the Kingston, Ontario, native said, pausing and then adding “My entire life, really. I don’t think there was ever a moment when I didn’t want to continue pursuing it.”
As almost every Canadian will attest to the love for hockey is practically a given from the moment they are born.
Reeve is no exception.
“My mom grew up in a small town in Southern Ontario. I think I could skate before I could walk,” he said.
Growing up, Reeve’s favorite NHL team was the Toronto Maple Leafs, and while that has changed over the years, one thing has remained constant for the 5-11 Bobcat and that’s his determination to see his dream of playing the sport he loves come to fruition.
“Growing up my favorite team was Toronto, now it’s Nashville, I liked the way they played,” Reeve said of the Predators team that reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2017 before losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins, a franchise whose captain is the one the Bobcat has tried to emulate over the years.
“When I was young, I tried to (copy) the playing style of Sidney Crosby. I like his puck protection technique,” Reeve said, admitting that his favorite NHL player of all time is actually former Detroit Red Wings’ star center Pavel Datsyuk, who is widely considered to be among the 10 greatest professional players of all-time.
Playing the same position as his idol, Reeve admitted to at one time playing “Defense a little, but I’ve mainly been a centerman.”
That position got him noticed and he was drafted 143rd in the eighth round of the 2018 OHL priority draft. He has played for OJHL teams in Kingston and Collingwood, Ontario, and Aurora, ILL before deciding to major in exercise physiology at OU.
“Moving around in juniors, I took maybe one or two courses,” Reeve said, admitting that adjusting to a full-time college course of studies was “a big obstacle for me to overcome.”
In the fall of last year “I ended up making a visit and decided right away” that OU was where he wanted to play.
That’s a decision he has not regretted.
“I have moved every single year and now I’m enjoying just settling down some. I like that Athens is a nice tight-knit community, it’s not overly big. I like the sense of community.”
And just what does a young hockey player who is dominating on the ice do in his free time?
For Reever, as he is called by his teammates, that answer would be to dabble in playing a couple musical instruments.
He not only plays the guitar, but he also tickles the ivories, too, a skill that he humbledly admits he’s pretty darn good at.
“I learned to play guitar when I was young, I started learning piano from watching YouTube in Grade 10. I would rate my piano skills as pretty good,” Reeve said.
He admits that while he enjoys playing the guitar he practices more on the piano. “I brought it here and have it in my room.”
While Bobcats Head Coach Lionel Mauron wasn’t asked about Reeve’s piano-playing skills, he had a lot to say about his freshman’s abilities on the ice.
“Luc brings a lot of energy to the team. He has great practice habits, and he competes hard every day. We needed a player who can play in all situations, and he has done just that,” Mauron said.
“He is a tremendous penalty killer, and he brings play-making abilities on our power play. Freshmen are always committed to hockey and want to make a difference early in the season, to solidify their spot in the lineup.”
Additionally, Mauron likes the leadership mindset he is seeing from his new center.
“He has been a good addition to a roster made of a lot of seniors who are bringing good leadership. We value his work ethic and his positive mindset, which has been one of the reasons why we have been able to start the season off the right foot.”
Mauron said that Reeve’s ascension into Ice ‘Cats supremacy so early in his collegiate career is hardly surprising to him.
“Having scouted Luc for over two years, I am not surprised about what he has been able to accomplish so far. However, I think we have just scratched the surface of his abilities and he will continue to improve as the season goes on.
“There is always an adaptation period for any players who join our program. As his confidence grows and he gets a better feel for our structure and his role, I am convinced he will be one of the most dominant players in the league. We usually see a lot of improvements from freshmen during the second semester of the year, once they are acclimated to their class schedules and the college lifestyle. I am excited to continue working with him over the next four years, he has the potential to be one of the best players Ohio has seen in the ACHA,” the coach said.
As for what the future holds for Reeve at OU, it’s anyone’s guess, but for now Mauron’s goal for the rookie’s maturation is clear.
“…Right now, the focus is to get better everyday and not put too much pressure on him. This is a team sport, and our early success is due to the work of every player on our roster, not individual performances,” Mauron said.
Clearly this squad has the depth that can be attributed to its fast start and obviously they are clicking.
Reeve offers a couple of reasons as to why he feels this team has accomplished so much so early in what is a long hockey season.
“Working under Lio has helped us click. He doesn’t tell you, he implements structures and let’s us have a lot of say,” Reeve said, adding that part of the reason that he feels the team responds to Mauron’s coaching is that “we are on the same generational path.”
Despite his success with OU Hockey specifically and the sport in general, Reever is humble and admits there are areas he still needs to perfect.
“ I have a lot of intensity. I get told that I’m a little too intense at times,” he said, adding, “I also need to simplify (my style of play) and not get too fancy.”
Things to work on for Reeve as he pursues his ultimate goal of one day playing in the National Hockey League.
“I’m always working toward that. It’s always a hope, I’ve just gotta keep trying.”
Having already accomplished one of his goals, playing hockey at the college level, who knows? Reever might just achieve not only his dream, but likely the wish of every player who dons a sweater at every level of the sport.
(Originally published at https://www.athensmessenger.com/sports/bobcats-hockey-reaping-rewards-of-rookie-center/article_be9e2912-5aaf-11ed-af52-0bb5299a4aee.html)