After several conversations with Jimmies head coach Dean Stork, Wilson was attracted to the program more and more. While there, the Castlegar native will study mechanical engineering and says it’s awesome to have the chance to play university hockey in the American Collegiate Hockey Association.
“For me growing up, it was you have to play Junior A to get those school opportunities. . .. I never went to Junior A (though he played four games as an affiliate player with the Trail Smoke Eaters), so I think it’s neat, playing in the KI, and as well as some other guys, to get those opportunities,” Wilson explained.
“It shows that people should have a little more respect for the KIJHL (Kootenay International Junior Hockey League).”
Wilson, five-foot-10, 175 pounds, played three seasons in the KIJHL. In 140 career regular season games, he netted 65 goals with 143 points (with Castlegar - 68GP, 21 goals, 44 points). In 31 playoff games, he had 24 points. This season with the Leafs, he finished third overall in league scoring with 30 goals and 75 points in 47 games.
Wilson, who led the Leafs in scoring this season with 75 points, says this season was “so much fun playing in Nelson.”
In a team statement, Stork had this to say about Wilson.
"Reid was one of the best offensive players in the KIJHL this season," Stork said. "He has a fantastic skill set and very high hockey IQ. He'll be a dangerous player every time he steps on the ice."
Wilson says he played well this season and received great opportunities from the coaching staff of Mario DiBella, Adam DiBella and Blake Arcuri.
“That was a huge factor,” said Wilson, who wore an A on his jersey. ”I thought my offensive game was pretty good. My defensive zone was pretty good. I can improve. There is always room to improve.”
It was a season that boosted Wilson’s confidence and makes him look forward to his freshman season in college. Wilson says his offensive explosion is a result of clicking with teammates, but also from working on his shot and practising at home, as well as being a playmaker who sees the ice well.
Another contributing factor was getting a lot of ice time, including practising nearly every day.
“I loved my time. Playing in the KIJHL shows how good the league is. It is underestimated by a lot of people,” he says, adding doing things in the community was great as people loved that. “It was so much fun.”