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Senior spotlight: Gentry Academy defender and Bemidji State commit Riley Reeves

The rising senior talks about her hockey story, Gentry's trip to state, and how she decided to commit to Bemidji State.

Andover vs Gentry Academy_0152.jpg
Andover's Madison Brown (10) tries to slip the puck past Gentry Academy goalie Zoe Laming (35) during the first period Friday, Feb. 25, 2022, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Jason Wachter / The Rink Live
Jason Wachter

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

As a junior, she put up 23 points in 31 games for the Stars this past season and helped the team to back-to-back state tournament appearances in 2021 and 2022.

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

Like many other hockey players, Riley'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 recalls.

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Riley 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," Riley says on her playing style.

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, Riley posted her commitment to play Division I hockey for Bemidji State on her Instagram page.

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

"I got to go to the locker room in between periods and you could just tell that every single person loved being there," Riley says.

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

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.

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For Riley's sophomore season, the team finished in second place, losing only to Proctor/Hermantown in the state title match. This past season, the Stars finished fourth at the tournament, losing in the third place match to Edina.

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

What makes the Gentry squad play so well together? Familiarity. Riley 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. We're all best friends."

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

Riley had a busy offseason this year, winning the USA Hockey Tier 1 16U national championship in Pittsburgh this spring with the MN Elite Grey team, and also participating in the National 16/17's 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.

When she's not on the ice, Riley can be found like many other Minnesotans out on the lake.

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Sydney Wolf is a reporter for The Rink Live, primarily covering youth hockey. She joined the team in November of 2021 and graduated from St. Cloud State University with a B.S. in Mass Communications and a minor in Writing and Rhetoric Studies and was a part of the University Honors Program.
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