Reid Duke has a good size chip on his shoulder after being drafted 169th overall in 2014 by the Minnesota Wild but not being offered a contract with the team. However, that chip pales in comparison to another event in Duke’s life which he had never talked about publicly until a recent interview with the Calgary Herald.
Engrossed in a period of deep concern over where his hockey career was going, Reid Duke received a phone call in the fall that would alter his life forever. It came five months ago Monday, with news his close uncle, Sheldon Reid, was one of four men who died in a plane crash that also killed former Alberta premier Jim Prentice. -Eric Francis, Calgary Herald
Duke’s uncle Sheldon was a major influence on his life as well as on his hockey development. Sheldon turned an old horse barn into a fully functional hockey rink in which Reid practiced hours a day growing up.
I spent thousands of hours there with my two brothers and Sheldon’s son, Dylan. It’s literally a horse barn. The Zamboni is parked in horse stalls, which is pretty cool. It’s just amazing the part he played in my life – he was a huge part of my career. -Reid Duke
His uncle was also crucial in motivating him to be the best hockey player he could possibly be.
He was such an amazing person. After that incident, it really made me focus on not taking anything for granted and really remembering everything he taught me and everything he would want for me. He wasn’t someone who would just come to hug and smile, he really, really pushed me, whether it was on or off the ice. -Duke
There’s no question the impact it had off the ice as during the media tour in Vegas, Duke found a way to work his family into answers to questions every time possible. He gave off a sense that it wasn’t just about him, it was about everyone who helped to get him to this point, especially his uncle, whom he never mentioned by name. I got that feel before knowing this story, now I really get it.