By Sam Laskaris

Though it originated in the United States, Black History Month is now also an annual celebration in Canada. The annual observance celebrates and recognizes the numerous achievements of Black people. Throughout February, various former and current members of the Brooklin Lacrosse Club organization who are Black will be profiled.

Today’s story is on BRAD REED.

Almost four decades since being introduced to lacrosse, Reed still has a passion for the sport. And though he’s no longer playing the game, Reed, 42, continues to be involved, serving as an assistant coach with the Whitby Steelhawks, members of the Arena Lacrosse League (ALL). “I’ve been involved in lacrosse forever, since I was four,” Reed said. “I love the game and it will always be a part of my life.”

Reed was a member of the last Brooklin squad to win the Mann Cup championship, back in 2000. While growing up playing the sport in Whitby, Reed said he was always the only Black player on his teams. That was the case for him right up until the mid 2000s, when he suited up with his younger brother Cory at the Senior B level for the then Brooklin Merchants, now known simply as the Merchants Lacrosse Club.

Reed believes there was a simple reason why more Black players did not participate in lacrosse when he was growing up. “If you don’t have anybody to introduce you to the game, then you don’t really know about it,” said Reed, who was also a member of the Minto Cup champion Whitby Warriors in 1999.

Reed added sports including basketball and soccer are more easily accessible and more affordable for some families, who might not have funds available to purchase all the required lacrosse equipment to outfit their child. Though he only captured the Mann Cup in his rookie year, Reed also spent the next five years playing for Brooklin’s team, called the Redmen at the time. He then spent the next six seasons playing Senior B with the Merchants.

Reed also played briefly played the sport professionally. Though he was drafted by the Toronto Rock, Reed never did suit up for that franchise. But he did end up playing a total of 15 National Lacrosse League games. During the 2001 campaign he appeared in five games with the Albany Attack. And the following year he played 10 contests with the New Jersey Storm.

Reed turned to coaching after his playing days were over. He served as an assistant coach for four seasons with the Merchants, including the 2016 campaign when the squad captured the Ontario title and placed third at its Presidents Cup national tournament in Leduc, Alta.

Reed, who has been working at General Motors in Oshawa for the past 17 years, is currently an assistant coach with the ALL’s Steelhawks. Reed, who is married and has an 11-year-old son Bradley and seven-year-old daughter Faith, is content to simply coach in the ALL for now. “It’s during the winters,” he said. “And it’s just on the weekend. You’ll have just one game or maybe two games on the weekend.”