WOMEN’S HOCKEY: Beaver commit Riley Reeves talks recruiting process, senior year – Bemidji Pioneer

VADNAIS HEIGHTS — Gentry Academy defenseman Riley Reeves is set up to have her best year yet.

As a junior in 2021-22, the Bemidji State women’s hockey commit put up 23 points in 31 games for the Stars, and she has helped the team to back-to-back state tournament appearances in 2021 and 2022.

The 5-foot-8 defender went through the college hockey recruiting process in fall of 2021 and had narrowed her selections down to just three schools.

In October 2021, Reeves posted her commitment to play Division I hockey for BSU on her Instagram page.

Team culture and coaching were two things that stuck out to Reeves during her visit to the school. She vividly remembers visiting the campus and being able to watch a game at the Sanford Center.

“I got to go to the locker room in between periods and you could just tell that every single person loved being there,” Reeves said.

Before she heads off to play for the Beavers, Reeves will be playing one more season for Gentry Academy.

Although Reeves has lived and played hockey in Minnesota for quite a few years now, she grew up in Illinois.

Like many other hockey players, Reeves’s dad put her and her brother into a “Learn to Skate” program, and her love of hockey took off from there.

“I loved it from the start,” she recalled.

Reeves started off playing boys hockey with her brother but then played with the Woodbury youth hockey association when she made the move to Minnesota for her dad’s work.

“I’m aggressive, I like to skate with the puck a lot and I like to join plays. … I see the whole entire ice,” Reeves said of her playing style.

The Stars high school girls hockey program started in 2020 and has appeared in back-to-back state tournaments, one in Class A and this past season in Class AA.

For Reeves’ sophomore season, the team finished in second place, losing only to Proctor/Hermantown in the state title game. This past season, the Stars finished fourth at the tournament, losing in the third-place game to Edina.

“We want to go back to state. … I think our team has a really good chance of being good again,” Reeves said of her team, which lost only two seniors this offseason.

What makes the Gentry squad play so well together? Familiarity. Reeves says most of the girls on the team have grown up playing together.

“We’re all having fun no matter what, everyone all has positive attitudes, nobody brings each other down — we only bring each other up,” Reeves said. “We’re all best friends.”

For her final high school season, Reeves hopes to be one of the leaders on the team that others can look up to and help lead the Stars to another state tournament appearance.

Reeves had a busy offseason this year, winning the USA Hockey Tier I 16U national championship in Pittsburgh this spring with the MN Elite Gray team and also participating in the National Girls 16/17 Player Development Camp.

Besides hockey, Riley also plays softball with other players of the Gentry hockey team in the Mounds Park Academy co-op. The team made it to state this past year.

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