For the Love of Hockey – A Look at Jordan Rea of the UNLV Rebels
By Bethany Drysdale
Las Vegas – Throughout these interviews we have come to understand a common theme each player reiterates; their love and commitment to the sport which has opened so many doors for them. For freshman business major Jordan Rea, that commitment to hockey has only grown stronger since stepping foot onto UNLV ice this season. One thing we notice first about Jordan is despite being the youngest player on the team, he has a hockey maturity level beyond his years. The team has ice time on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 7:45 am to 9 am and Jordan is normally the last player off the ice. Until the Zambonis come, Jordan is hitting the puck into an open net, doing skating drills or practicing his puck handling. If there is anything a coach of any sport wants to see, it is a player who works harder to get better.
The road to Las Vegas has not always been the easiest path but Jordan is happy to be in the community. When asked about what he thought about Las Vegas as a growing hockey market, he said ‘I think it’s great! I believe hockey is a great game and the city seems to be supporting the Golden Knights very well. Coming from Canada, it’s nice to see many people taking a part in the growing game of hockey here in the desert.”
Coming from Juniors last season with the Revelstoke Grizzlies, Jordan played in 34 games , tallying 16 goals with 24 assists. The Vernon, British Columbia native has played in 8 games with UNLV with one goal, two assists going into the Christmas break. Like all competitors, Jordan feels like he has more to give to his team. His style of play is most like Riley Smith of the Golden Knights with speed and getting the puck on the net.
His favorite player is Brendan Gallagher with the Montreal Canadiens. Jordan admires his worth ethic and his advice to his younger self would be “I would tell myself to focus on making myself better every day, no only in hockey but everything I do. Whether that is in hockey, school, or anything that comes up in life, do everything to the best of you ability and enjoy the challenges that come your way.” Two years ago Jordan almost gave up on hockey. After playing hockey in Dawson Creek BC and Revelstoke BC it was very cold and there was a fair amount of snow, so he thought it would be better to live in Las Vegas and be in a growing program and help the locals learn more about his favorite sport. He got in touch with Rebels general manager Zee Khan and made arrangements to check out UNLV. The rest, as they say, is history.
In a few days Jordan will turn 21. His journey through hockey began at age 5, when his school class went to the ice rink to learn about to skate. He played his first hockey game at age 6, and has been on the ice, stick in hand, ever since. As for his future Jordan says “in five years, I would like to see myself with a degree from UNLV, be a much better hockey player and hopefully still be playing hockey or beginning a career in whatever that might be.” He is well traveled, learn many lessons along the way, and is growing in the game of hockey as he encourages my kids to love the sport that he fell in love with at their age. That is is what hockey is always been about, the current players putting forward the love and dedication they learned from the generation before them. Being on the ice is more than just hitting a rubber disc into a net; it’s about family. The connections players like Jordan makes with their teammates, and the kids they inspire, is the foundation of hockey.