Scahill providing leadership, spark for Jr. Eagles
When Reed Scahill thinks back on his mid-summer decision to leave his Michigan home and sign with the Colorado Jr. Eagles, he’s glad he eventually picked up the phone.
Through mutual contacts in the hockey world, Jr. Eagles coach-GM Steve Haddon started calling Scahill to recruit the Port Huron, Mich., product to Northern Colorado.
Scahill, entering his last season of junior hockey eligibility, played the last two seasons in the North American Hockey League (NAHL) for the Port Huron Fighting Falcons and the Keystone Ice Miners.
“Coach Hads contacted me in the middle of summer and I was dodging his phone calls at first because I was in contact with a couple NAHL teams, but after a while, I finally picked up because he was so persistent,” said Scahill. “He went out of his way to fly to Port Huron to talk in person with me. Along with the hockey, team governor Casey Bradshaw offered me a job at his business making prosthetics, braces, orthotics and custom wheelchairs, which just so happened to be something I was possibly interested in going to school for, so I figured I’d be dumb not to get my foot in the door and put it on my résumé.
“Haddon seemed like a first-class coach and he has definitely lived up to that.”
Scahill, who turns 21 in February, also said coming to the Western States Hockey League has improved his confidence with the puck.
“I’d like to improve on my offense,” explained Scahill. “I never really had confidence with the puck since I went from AA hockey to the NAHL, and that’s also another reason why I came out here. Everyone on the team gets along and it’s obvious Coach Hads recruited not only on skill, but on character, and it shows.”
When he was 18, Scahill was preparing to head to school at Michigan State University until his cousin, Charlie Cook, who played in the NAHL with the Soo Indians, four years at Cornell University from 2001-05 and now professionally in Europe, convinced him to try out for the Michigan Warriors.
“Funny story about me – I never played a day of AAA hockey in my life,” said Scahill. “I didn’t even make it past the first cuts for the Warriors tryout. After that disappointment, I was really ready to just give up on hockey and go to school, but my cousin talked me into going to Port Huron’s tryout. Their coach, Mike Gershon (now a volunteer assistant at NCAA Division I Robert Morris University), gave me the chance I dreamed of for years. The jump from travel hockey to the NA was unbelievably hard, but Gershon stuck with me.”
Now settling into the Fort Collins environment, Scahill is using his experience at the NAHL level to be a leader with the Jr. Eagles.
“The most positive thing I got out of the two years in the NA was not only my development as a hockey player, but my development as a person and my confidence off the ice,” said Scahill. “I also met some great people from across the country that I will continue to keep in touch with for the rest of my life. Fort Collins is unbelievable. It’s a city I could see myself living in when I’m older. It’s hard getting away from the Great Lakes, but I could get used to looking at the mountains every day. Who wouldn’t want to live in Colorado?”
As for his expectations the rest of this season with the Jr. Eagles, Scahill has some lofty goals.
“Obviously, our goal as a team is to win the Thorne Cup,” said Scahill. “I think our team has the potential to do that.”
On a personal level moving forward, Scahill said it’s always been a dream to play D-I hockey, but if the right Division III situation came around, “I would probably take that.”
— Matt Mackinder