KENNEWICK -- There are prominent names on the wall in the hallway outside the Tri-City Americans dressing room.
Kolzig, Barnes, Price, Langkow, Souray and Boucher to name a few.
Kruise Reddick may never attain the same success of the players who came before him, but his contributions to the franchise have led to special moments the others never achieved.
In the five years that Reddick has pulled on a Tri-City sweater, the Americans have won three U.S. Division banners, a Scotty Munro trophy and a Western Conference title. All were firsts for a franchise that turned out several NHL stars, but had earned little else.
"He is the heart and soul of our team," said Tri-City general manager Bob Tory of Reddick's contributions. "He brings a relentless work ethic that is contagious and I think he's taught a lot of people how important each and every game is, and how important it is when you put on that jersey to give everything you have. When the day is done you can look in the mirror, be proud of that performance and have no regrets."
Reddick, who hails from the village of Manor, Saskatchewan (pop. 305), is at the end of his five-year Western Hockey League career. He and fellow overager Tyler Schmidt, have played all five years together with the Americans and have left their mark on the team.
"It seems like yesterday I came in here with one little duffel bag of clothes not expecting to stay more than a week," Reddick said. "Here I am five years later. (Winning the banners) has been pretty special, especially to be able to do it with a good friend like Tyler. He's like a brother to me now. To be a part of turning the organization around and being part of something special is huge. "
When Reddick turns in his No. 11 jersey at the end of the season, the team captain will leave his name sprinkled throughout the Americans' record book.
The 20-year-old forward holds the record for most playoff games played -- he will be at 65 after tonight's Game 6 against the Spokane Chiefs. He surpassed Daymond Langkow (30) for most playoff assists (37), and is four points from passing Langkow (59) for most playoff points.
Looking at the records on the wall Monday afternoon, he found it hard to believe his name soon will be above Langkow's.
"It's kind of surreal, to be honest," Reddick said. "Just a credit to the organization and the teams we've had throughout the years to put together good runs in the playoffs. Playoffs are so much more intense than the regular season. You have to elevate your game and I think I have done that in years past and led by example in the playoffs."
When Reddick laces up his skates tonight at Spokane Arena, he knows it could be for the last time as an American. Tri-City trails Spokane 3-2 in the best-of-7 Western Conference semifinals.
"I am proud of what we have done this year, and of years past, too," Reddick said. "We don't want this to be our last game, so we are going to lay it all on the line and do our best. Knowing it could be our last game is a weird feeling, but we don't want to let that happen."
Reddick was 16 when he arrived at his first Tri-City camp -- all of 5-foot-9 and 165 pounds. A virtual unknown from a village just as obscure. But he had something then-coach Don Nachbaur was looking for.
"Character. That was easy to define the first time you watched him in training camp," said Nachbaur, who now coaches the Spokane Chiefs. "His play without the puck, his commitment to play without the puck, the way he skated, the way he handled himself, the way he didn't use size as an excuse. Just a tremendous competitor. I learned to love that about him as his coach. When you are on the opposite bench, you are surely aware of him and how important he is to his team."
Nachbaur coached Reddick for three years before he left for the American Hockey League. The two had a special bond, including Reddick's first WHL goal, which was scored on the same night Nachbaur got his 300th win. Nachbaur let Reddick keep the game puck.
"I credit him a lot. I wouldn't be here today, where I am without Don," Reddick said. "He opened the doors to me, to this league and gave me a chance and taught me a lot. I owe him a lot, for sure."
Over the years, Nachbaur has seen Reddick develop into one of the most respected and hard-working players in the league.
"That's why he has the 'C' on his jersey," Nachbaur said.
The Americans wasted no time in naming Reddick their captain for this season. The announcement came a short time after their historic playoff run last year, where they lost in the WHL finals to Calgary.
"That was a no-brainer," Tory said. "It was a statement we wanted to make to Kruise and to our team -- we knew who our leader was. We thought it was important the team know that going into the summer. He earned that.
"Besides being a tremendously skilled player, it's his character that is infectious. He's had good leaders ahead of him in Taylor Procyshen and I think he's set a standard for leadership for the future when he leaves."
Reddick has treasured every moment in leading the Americans this season.
"That had been a dream of mine since I was a little boy, to be a captain in this league," said Reddick, the only player from Manor to play in the WHL. "To finally accomplish that was a huge honor and one I took very seriously. I think coming into this year, I didn't do anything over the top, I just tried to be there for the guys, lead with my past experiences and who I am as a person. I hope I did a good job."
Spoken like a true leader.
* Annie Fowler: 509-582-1575; email@example.com