Toronto-born winger Luca Rea has settled well into his new surroundings in Haliburton County over the past couple of months, injecting some extra speed and skill into the Huskies’ forward corps.

The 19-year-old has featured in 15 games for the Dogs since arriving via trade from the Milton Menace Nov. 18, scoring three goals and registering six assists. He’s been deployed largely on the second and third forward lines, and is one of the first players off the bench when things aren’t going to head coach, Ryan Ramsay’s, liking on the ice.

Born in Burlington, Rea spent most of his childhood between his hometown Eagles and the North York Rangers, where Ramsay was his coach for two seasons. He credited the Huskies executive, and his dad, for moulding him into the player he is.

“I’ve been skating since I was about three, and my dad has always been my biggest influencer and supporter. I’ve been training with him my whole life, he’s always come onto the ice with me and helped me out with drills – he still does that now,” Rea said.

Born with a voracious need to succeed, Rea stopped at nothing to develop his skills while progressing through the minor hockey ranks. He and his father, Derek, attended a hockey camp in Sweden in 2016 so that Rea could work on his skating.

“My dad actually played overseas when he was younger, and he knew a skating instructor there he used to work with. So, we went out and stayed two weeks. It was such an unbelievable experience, and really helped with my development. I’ll remember that trip for the rest of my life.”

After winning an OJHL championship with the Menace last season, Rea was looking for a new challenge this year, with the bulk of that Milton squad aging out of junior hockey. He had several offers from teams around the league, but said it was an “easy decision” to join the Huskies once the team made their interest known.

He made a near instant impact after joining, scoring the opening goal in just his second game with the team, a 4-2 win over the Toronto Patriots. Rea said his highlight with the team so far was his two-goal effort Dec. 11 in a 5-1 win over the rival Cobourg Cougars.

Now, Rea said he’s all-in on repeating as an OJHL champ and said he would do whatever it takes to help the Huskies claim gold come spring.

“Coach Ryan has created a professional environment here that gives us, as a team, every opportunity to succeed,” Rea said.

“Everybody is here to win, and we’re all pulling together in the same direction. Coach has brought the guys in; we’re all buying into the system and I definitely believe we will win a championship this year. I’m not thinking about anything else.”