Arrow-right Camera


He’s a number cruncher

Chiefs defenseman Reid Gow, left, knows how many points he has, but is more concerned with defense. (Jesse Tinsley)
Chiefs defenseman Reid Gow, left, knows how many points he has, but is more concerned with defense. (Jesse Tinsley)

Math-whiz Gow sums it up best: Defense comes first

The self-proclaimed “nerd” of the Spokane Chiefs enjoys math but doesn’t want to focus too much on numbers.

Chiefs defenseman Reid Gow won the Western Hockey League’s Daryl K. (Doc) Seaman Trophy last season as the league’s scholastic player of the year.

Gow’s outstanding grades during two years at Ferris High were bolstered by a couple of his favorite classes, math and statistics.

Gow may have a head for figures, but his first focus with the Chiefs is to keep rival players from doing their addition.

“I was always a defenseman, even from when I was a tiny, tiny hockey player,” said the 18-year-old Killarney, Manitoba, native. “My dad (Neil) was a defenseman and I always liked it better, because as a defenseman you get to defend your net.

“I know my numbers, obviously. I know how many goals I have and how many assists I have, but I’m not too concerned about it.”

Gow has 27 assists and seven goals this year for 34 points, which ranks sixth on the team.

The Chiefs surprised Gow by making him their first-round pick in the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft. He thought he was hidden away, playing “nothing crazy special” C level hockey in a small town near the border with North Dakota.

“That’s when I kind of realized that I had a chance,” Gow said. “Before that, I just always loved hockey and never really thought about how far it was going to take me.”

As a 15-year-old, Gow was playing AAA midget hockey for the Southwest Cougars in Souris, Manitoba, when Chiefs general manager Tim Speltz called him around Christmas. The Chiefs had open spots on their roster because of players competing at the World Juniors tournament. Gow appeared in five games with Spokane.

“I remember my first game in Portland got delayed (because of weather) and we didn’t even start the game until 9 at night, and it’s a two-hour time difference for my parents to watch at like 11,” Gow said. “That’s the only game I remember when I was 15, and I was so nervous and so scared that all of it was a blur.”

Gow made the Chiefs’ roster as a 16-year-old, arriving at the same time as coach Don Nachbaur. He had two goals and nine assists in 41 games that season.

After accounting for two goals and 20 assists in 54 games as a 17-year-old, Gow has blossomed this season.

“I feel much more confident with the puck and I feel much more relied upon because as an 18-year-old guy I have a much bigger role,” Gow said. “Coach trusts me and a lot of the players trust me, and definitely I like how they respond to me.”

Gow said he won’t plan for the future until he sees how far hockey can take him. His mother, Jeannie, is a nurse, and her medical field interests him more than his dad’s occupation: border patrol.

Click here to comment on this story »