Bighorns Staff Spotlight- Stop by the Bighorns Front Offices on any given weekday and you are unlikely to see Josh Reis. But don't think that means he is not out there somewhere working hard for the Bighorns. Josh Reis is the team's Director of Player Personnel and is gearing up for his second full season with the team. Based out of Seattle, WA, Josh makes the trip to Helena only about 3-4 times per year.
So what exactly does the Director of Player Personnel do? Reis's functions with the Bighorns are essentially three-fold: Recruiting players who are outside of NORPAC; scouting players who are within the league for future potential trades; and analysis of other NORPAC teams' systems and tendencies. This means a lot of travel and of course watching a lot of hockey. Josh does not seem to mind the strenuous schedule though. “It is very common with my job to drive 5-10 hours to watch a game on Friday then head out again to another location for a Saturday night game. It's a lot of travel but my passion and drive to see Helena succeed is well worth it.” said Reis.
This being his second season with Helena, Josh is certainly no stranger to the NORPAC League. His first assignment within the league came in 2006 when he took the reigns as Head Coach of the Puget Sound Tomahawks. He followed that up with a move across Puget Sound to work for the rival Seattle Totems. There he served as General Manager and Assistant Coach for two seasons where he enjoyed Pacific Division Playoff Championships both years, only to be defeated by the Bighorns in the finals twice in a row. During Reis's time with the Totems, the team finished the regular season with records of 44-5 and 41-7 respectively, earning regular season championship honors in each of the two seasons.
Prior to working in Junior hockey, Reis earned himself a reputation for developing players at the U18 Midget level where he coached for 15 years. His dedication to young players and knowledge of the youth hockey system and teams in the Northwest are what make him the prime candidate for his position with the Bighorns.
That being said, Josh has always had a profound passion for competing and winning. So when he was asked to join the Bighorns staff in 2009, it was a no-brainer. “From day one it was obvious to me that Coach Cunningham and the Bighorns commitment to player development and winning, were parallel with my passion to compete and be the best.” He also sites the specific advantages that the Bighorns enjoy being able to offer their players as a reason for wanting to be involved. “Having Oren and Mike own both the building and the team gives our staff and players many advantages that are only available to a few select programs at any level in North America. One of the most important things that we offer our players is unlimited ice time. Our players were on the ice for 300+ hours last season excluding game time.”
Reis was also on the bench with the Bighorns during their playoff and Nationals runs last season. When asked about his most memorable moment with the Bighorns, he replied “clearly our season ending game at Nationals last season and being on the bench as Nolan Grauer scored the tying goal with time winding down against the 3 time defending national champion N.H. Monarchs. He added “ In the end we tied, but for that 65 minutes of game time every player and coach gave all that they had. Words cannot describe the moment. I am not a good loser (a tie isn't a win) but there was a strange sense of satisfaction walking off of the ice knowing that we had left it all out there; and we had taken the 1st points away from the Monarchs program in over 3 years.”
His hard work this off-season and the work he will perform during the upcoming season will hopefully contribute to the continued success of the program. But Josh has specific goals for this season and when asked about them he was quick to jump right to the point. “My goals for 2010/11 are simple; Helping Mike and Scott find the right 25 players to be the best team in the 10 year history of the program” He also mentions, “it isn't about finding the most skilled players, it is about finding the "right" players. The players that I looked for in Puget and Seattle for myself are different than the players that I seek out for Helena in some ways.” Clearly Mr. Reis understands what it takes to build a solid hockey team. But make no mistake, Reis is very clear in crediting the outstanding coaching of Scott Cunningham and unmatched work ethic of President Mike Butters for the success that the Bighorns have enjoyed to this point.
It is quite clear that Josh Reis serves an integral role in the success of the Bighorns on-ice product. Needless to say, his presence in Helena is felt even though he may not always be here physically.