Reece Harsch was drafted in the eighth-round, 170th overall in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft by the Seattle Thunderbirds.
He made his debut with the organization in the 2015-16 season where he played one game. That game was against the Kelowna Rockets and it’s one he will never forget.
“They had some injuries so they called me up. I didn’t play too much, but it was really exciting getting in the lineup,” said Harsch, courtesy of winnipegice.ca. “I remember Kelowna’s fans yelling rocket during the national anthem. After that, I sort of blacked out.”
In the 2016-17 season, Harsch became a full-time Thunderbird. He played 67 games in the regular season and another 20 in the playoffs as he team won the Western Hockey League. He made his debut as a 16-year-old and he made the team as a 17-year-old, but it wasn’t any easy process to do so.
“It was challenging, you had to work your hardest every day. There was no taking time off,” he added. “I was lucky enough to get in the lineup every day and I just went from there.”
“It was pretty incredible winning the league, it was a special experience,” said Harsch. “Also going to the Memorial Cup, that was amazing. It’s something I’ll never forget.”
Harsch would go on to play 86 more games for Seattle, 28 of which were in the 2018-19 season before he was traded. As a 19-year-old, Reece was Bridge City bound as the Saskatoon Blades acquired the hard working defenceman.
He played 29 games with them in the regular season last year and he suited up in eight playoff games, where the team fell short against the Prince Albert Raiders.
On May 2, 2019, Reece was traded again. This time, he was set to move to the capital of Manitoba and that’s where he is now.
The 20-year-old is in his first season with the Winnipeg ICE and it’s also his final junior hockey season. On Tuesday night, Reece will be in the same place where his junior career started. He and the ICE continue their U.S. Division trip with a stop in Seattle to play the Thunderbirds. It will be the second time Reece has played against his first WHL team.
Reece’s first time playing Seattle was back on January 8, 2019, when Reece helped the Blades nip Seattle, 4-3.
Going into Tuesday’s match up, Harsch and the ICE have the upper hand. They’re third in the East Division at 11-9-1. Seattle, meanwhile, is near the bottom of the Western Conference at 6-9-2-1.
The game will also feature a big milestone for Reece. It will be his 200th Western Hockey League game.
“It’s pretty exciting. I started my junior career here and I haven’t been back since I was traded,” said Harsch. “It’s exciting to be back and to see some familiar faces. I’m excited to give it my all on Tuesday night and we’ll see how it goes.”
Harsch has chipped in eight assists with Winnipeg this season.