The Chilliwack Chiefs have lost a talented young player to the major junior ranks, with Peter Reynolds defecting to the Saint John Sea Dogs.
After one highly productive season in the BCHL that saw the Reynolds post 14 goals and 47 points in 53 games, the 17-year-old forward has stepped away from a commitment to the Boston College Eagles and will join the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team this fall.
Reynolds’ family lives on the east coast of Canada, and he played youth hockey in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
In an interview with John Moore of Sports and Moore, a Halifax based sports broadcasting company, Reynolds said going home played a big role in his decision to leave the Chiefs.
“To have the opportunity to return home after five years and get a couple more years with my parents and my family, that was a big part of it,” the teenager said.
Reynolds has already shown he can fit in at the major junior level.
He was one of 66 players who were chosen to represent Canada at last year’s World U17 Hockey Challenge. He was the only BCHL player to receive an invite. Of the 39 forwards who played in the tournament, 37 came from Canada’s three major junior leagues.
The loss of Reynolds leaves a hole at forward for the Chiefs as they look ahead to 2020-21.
“There have been some rumblings about this over the last week, and they (Saint John) have been pressuring him to do this even before we recruited him,” said Chilliwack hockey boss Brian Maloney. “We can’t compete with major junior and some of the perks that they can offer, because of our ties to university regulations, and that’s the life of a high profile kid when you have to make a decision like this at such a young age.
“I’m a huge advocate of university hockey because I believe in patience and education, but to be honest with you I didn’t try to convince him to stay. A lot of his decision was wanting to be closer to his parents and his home, and if you’re having to go against what’s in a kid’s heart, then you’re not going to get the most out of that kid.”
Reynolds would have been a major piece of the offence next season and he would have been a candidate to break through and be one of the top offensive players in the entire league.
Losing him now would seem to put the Chiefs in a tough spot searching for a replacement.
“When you’re focused on developing young players, you run the risk of them leaving early, but we’ll be okay,” Maloney said. “If we need to go out and get an older kid, we’ll do that. We’ve had to pass on a lot of kids over the last month or so because we were so close to being full, so this gives us a little wiggle room.
“In junior hockey you need a good top six, and we have nine players like that even without Peter. And there are lots of guys out there still who haven’t committed, so we’ll be alright.”