Colorado youth hockey success story Conn advances to play with NAHL’s Wilderness in ’21-22
After skating the 2020-21 season for the Colorado Thunderbirds’ 16U AAA team, Reid Conn entered the offseason with no concrete plans for the 2021-22 season.
That’s when a Colorado connection from Minnesota stepped up to the plate.
“(Minnesota Wilderness assistant coach) Brendan Phelps reached out to me in the summer asking what my plans were,” said Conn, originally from Anchorage, Alaska. “Originally not having a tender available, we spoke about what my situation could look like, and it was looking like I would be a draft pick. It wasn’t until two days before the draft that a tender was available, and they picked me for that spot.
“I chose the Wilderness because I have only heard great things about the organization. The development for D-men there is great.”
A 2004 birth year, Conn is excited to make the jump to the NAHL this coming season.
“Junior hockey is a faster pace, but through all the hard work I put in during the summer to get faster and stronger, I think the transition will not be too difficult,” said Conn.
Getting started in the game back in Alaska, Conn said he remembers skating on ponds and the frozen rinks outside ever since he could walk. His family moved to Colorado when he was six years old.
“The Avs played a role my second Pee Wee year when my team won the Quebec qualifier and we got to go represent that Avs in the Quebec tournament,” said Conn. “I played for a few different teams growing up. My early days after moving to Colorado were with Krivo and eventually moving over to the Foothills Flyers for both Pee Wee years, then to the Colorado Evolution for a year and then the Thunderbirds from 14U to 16U.
“I have had great coaches throughout all my years that have all been great influences, including Milan Hejduk, Jan Hejda, Ken Klee, John Mitchell and David Clarkson. This last season was one of my favorites for sure. We faced many challenges as a group with covid, but everyone stayed responsible and smart outside of the rink so we could continue to play together.”
— Matt Mackinder
(September 2, 2021)