After three full years with the Parkland Midget Rangers and two with the Bantam Rangers, Reece Hopfner is off playing hockey at the next level.

The 18-year-old Ste. Rose native is in his first season of junior hockey with the Fort Frances Lakers. They play in the Superior International Junior Hockey League.

"Things are going pretty well so far," said Hopfner. "It's a bit of an adjustment moving up from Midget hockey, but it hasn't been too bad. I'd say I'm getting the hang of things."

Reece is very humble, but there's no doubt that the transition has been very smooth for him. In four games, he has four points (1G). 

"I'm just trying to do the little things right," added Hopfner. "I've had some success so far, but it's super early in the season. I'm playing wing now instead of centre. It's all about working hard and then good things will come."

"I definitely need to start shooting the puck more though," he added. "Sometimes I try to make an extra move when I could just take a shot and have a chance at scoring. I have good speed, so I need to continue using that and of course my size. I'm not a small guy."

Playing junior hockey allows Reece to play the game he loves every single day, and sometimes even twice a day. 

"It's just really nice being on the ice every morning for practice and being in the gym with the guys," said Hopfner. "We have a really great group of guys. They welcomed me the second I got here. It's just been an awesome experience so far."

On top of Reece's success, the rest of the Lakers have been enjoying some success.

In six games, the team is 4-2 and are in second place behind the Thunder Bay North Stars.

"We have high expectations especially after the strong start," he added. "Our goal is obviously to win the entire league and we're pushing to make that a reality."

Reece and the rest of the Lakers play a road set this weekend in Red Lake against the Miners.