Sen­a­tors coach Mark Reeds dies of can­cer aged 55

The China Post - - SPORTS -

Mark Reeds, an as­sis­tant coach for the play­off- bound Ottawa Sen­a­tors and a for­mer NHL player, died Tues­day. He was at 55. Reeds had been fight­ing can­cer for more than a year, and the news came as a blow to a team al­ready deal­ing with gen­eral manager Bryan Mur­ray’s can­cer di­ag­no­sis.

Owner Eu­gene Mel­nyk l auded Reeds’ “charis­matic fight­ing spirit ... right un­til the end.” Mur­ray said the team lost a “very im­por­tant mem­ber ... of our Se­na­tor fam­ily.”

Reeds had been an as­sis­tant in Ottawa since 2011 and be­fore that coached the Owen Sound Attack to an On­tario Hockey League ti­tle. He was a fifth- round draft pick of St. Louis in 1979 and played 365 NHL games for the Blues and Hart­ford Whalers.

“Mark Reeds was the em­bod­i­ment of com­mit­ment to our game,” NHL Com­mis­sioner Gary Bettman said in a state­ment. “Mark de­voted 35 years to 10 dif­fer­ent stops in six dif­fer­ent leagues, and the NHL shares the sor­row of all who were touched by his self­less­ness and ded­i­ca­tion.”

The Sen­a­tors open the post­sea­son Wed­nes­day night against Mon­treal, a game they weren’t ex­pected to be play­ing un­til a late- sea­son surge re­sulted in a wild- card spot.

“We’re just try­ing to win,” said Kyle Tur­ris. “That’s what he ( Reeds) wanted. Just to give it our all, to keep win­ning, to get into the play­offs and just keep do­ing what we can to win and that’s what we’re go­ing to try and do for him.”

Reeds was re­mem­bered for his hu­mor, pas­sion for the game and abil­ity to com­mu­ni­cate with play­ers.

Sen­a­tors coach Dave Cameron fought back tears as he spoke of Reeds and what he brought team.

“When Mark got sick you had a heavy heart — now it’s broke,” he said. “Just a ter­rific fa­ther, dad, hus­band. Very close fam­ily. Big part of our suc­cess.”

Cameron praised Reeds “bright hockey mind.”

“He no­ticed things in a game that most peo­ple wouldn’t if they watched the game 10 times, they wouldn’t no­tice about stick place­ment, po­si­tion­ing, just de­tails,” he said. “He was a per­fec­tion­ist. He loved the game. We had a lot of laughs in that back room watch­ing video and pre- scout­ing ... A lot of times we just pulled the chairs back and it wasn’t hockey, it was life.”

Mur­ray, who re­vealed in Novem­ber he has Stage 4 colon can­cer, said Reeds met with the team about 10 days ago and told them to keep win­ning.

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