We caught up with former Bobcat fan favourite Kyle Harris to check in on how life after Bobcats is going. Over his 3 year Jr. ‘A’ career with the Bobcats, the former assistant captain scored 66 goals and 76 assists for 142 points in 192 games, while also accumulating a total of 337 penalty minutes. In 2011-2012, Kyle was named to the AJHL Reebok North Division All-League Team and also received a nomination for the 2011-2012 AJHL Most Valuable Player Award. Kyle accepted a scholarship to play for the NAIT Ooks this season and enrolled in the college’s Radio and Television Program. What follows is the Q&A sessions we had with Kyle.
After 3 seasons with the Bobcats, you accepted a scholarship to play for the NAIT Ooks in your hometown of Edmonton, Alberta. How is that all going so far?
My time at NAIT so far has been great. I really enjoy my program, and I’ve met some amazing people. I’ve got my own sports show on the NAIT radio station. The hockey has been awesome; our team is tops in the league, we are championship contenders, and we have a great group of guys on the team.
While in Lloydminster, you started the infamous team radio show known as 'The Harris Show'. This must have lit a spark for you. Tell us about what you're taking at NAIT, and how it's going so far.
I am taking Radio and Television Broadcasting. It’s going great! I’m learning a lot of stuff I didn’t expect or even think about that are needed in this business. I’ve started my own sports show Wednesday nights. I’m having a lot of fun doing it.
Editor’s note: Fans can catch Kyle’s sports show, KRL, every Wednesday evening at 9 PM on NR92 (http://www.nait.ca/nr92/).
How are you liking playing the game in your hometown?
It is definitely not the same as playing in Lloydminster where the team gets 1,000 plus fans a night, but it’s still nice playing at home where my parents can see me play for the most part all the time.
Any other current involvements with hockey?
My life is pretty consumed with school every day for 8 hours and practice afterwards. Our class has a basketball intermural team so I try to make it out to games when I can.
Last year, the Bobcats had female goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer on the team. This year once again you have a female teammate, with Olympic gold medalist Shannon Szabados backstopping the Ooks. What is it like have a female player on the team?
It's not really even something I think about. I was so used to having Emerance on the team last year and now it's just a regular teammate (with Shannon).
You were very active in the community during your time as a Bobcat, and it was no secret that you were a huge fan favourite. Perhaps no better indication of that can be found in the fact that the fans picked you as our first ever winner of the QuickLube Fan Choice Award in your last season with the team. How is your rock star status in Edmonton? What sort of community initiatives do the Ooks have you doing?
Haha no rockstar status here, just a little fish in a big pond. The Ooks run a hockey school similar to the Bobcats Hockey School, and other than that just getting out and supporting the other Ooks teams’ games.
One of your best buddies while playing here was Jeff Lorenz, who also plays in the ACAC for U of A Augustana in Camrose. How often do the two of you get to see each other, and how have your games against him gone so far? Any other teammates you're still in touch with?
We haven't seen much of one another since school started; only when we play each other. We talk every day though. He has been injured so we haven't battled it out yet. I also still keep in contact with a lot of the guys: Marty, Knight, Bakes, Kerner, Atkinson, Flanny and of course Garty.
It's been almost a year since your last game in a Bobcats jersey. What was your favourite memory during your time in Lloydminster?
I had a lot of memorable times in my 3 years there. My favorite memory is just the friendships and relationships I've built with all the teammates I've had. It's pretty cool how you start off as strangers and then become brothers and build a close bond. I've met some great people playing as a Bobcat and I'm fortunate enough to have met the people I did.
What was your best moment on the ice as a player?
Beating Grande Prairie in the (first round of the 2010-2011) playoffs after being down 2-0 early in the series. We had such a rivalry with them and to beat them and come back in the series is a feeling that's hard to put into words.
How has your time spent at the tier two junior A level in the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) helped prepare you for the rest of your hockey career and for your life as a whole?
It helps with growing up, maturing, working with others and dealing with adversity in different ways. Lloydminster did a great job on preparing me for balancing hockey and academics together.
Any idea on what your plans are for after you are done school?
Either try go playing pro somewhere, or try and get a job broadcasting hockey games.
What kind of advice could you lend to midget players about to enter the junior level of their hockey careers?
Put in the work at the gym, focus on hockey, and have fun playing. It's the best time of your life, and a privilege to be able to play hockey every day at the junior level.
Any chance fans will see you at future Bobcats games or alumni events?
I sure hope so, I plan on coming back to Lloyd soon.
Any shout outs?
A huge thank you to my billets Roger & Shelley Daren and their son Steve for taking me in for 3 years. They always made me feel comfortable and a part of their family. And everyone in the Bobcat organization – thank you for the opportunity to play in the border city.