A member of the Blues family has passed away.
Former forward Mark Reeds, who played six seasons in the NHL for the Blues from 1981-87, and also played for the Hartford Whalers from 1987-89, died of a form of inoperable cancer on Tuesday.
The St. Louis Blues released an official statement after news of Reeds’ passing became known:
“The St. Louis Blues along with our Alumni organization are deeply saddened by the passing of Mark Reeds. Mark was an inspirational father, husband, player, coach and contributor to the St. Louis community. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Mary, son Kyle, daughter Kelsey and the entire Reeds family, as well as to all of his former colleagues and teammates.”
Reeds started his playing career in 1976-77 in the Ontario Hockey Association with the Toronto Marlboros, then spending the next three seasons with the Peterborough Petes in the same league, scoring 76 goals in his four years as a player in the OHA.
In 1979, the St. Louis Blues drafted Reeds 86th overall (a fifth round pick), and during his six seasons with the team, he played in 320 games, scoring 45 goals and 159 points. In 53 playoff games, he had a total of eight goals and 17 points. On Oct. 5, 1987, after six seasons in the Gateway City, the Blues traded Reeds to the Hartford Whalers for their third-round pick.
Unfortunately, Reeds struggled to stay healthy while with the Whalers, and after several minor league stints, he retired after the 1992-1993 season with the Peoria Rivermen.
Reeds started that same season coaching on the Rivermen, and would remain a coach with Peoria until 1998-99, being their head coach from 1996-99. He would then coach the Missouri River Otters of the UHL until the 2002-03 season. He was a head coach in the UHL and OHL up until the 2010-11 season, when the Ottawa Senators hired him as an assistant coach, marking his return to the NHL for the first time since he was a player.
“Mark Reeds was the embodiment of commitment to our game,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in an official 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.”
Recently, according to the Ottawa Citizen, he was hospitalized with pneumonia, and was being treated for the illness in St. Louis. Reeds was dealing with inoperable cancer for more than a year, and the Senators are also dealing with general manager Bryan Murray‘s cancer diagnosis.
I personally would also like to send my deepest condolences to the Reeds family at this time.
(Photo Credit: NHL.com)