Noah Geekie hears the same question all the time: “Why didn’t you stick with hockey like your brothers?”
Noah, the middle child of the three boys from Strathclair, understands the thought process behind it. Morgan, the oldest, is heading into his fourth NHL season and second with the Seattle Kraken. Conor, the youngest, was drafted 11th overall by the Arizona Coyotes last month in Montreal after a remarkable year with the Winnipeg Ice.
Noah, 22, potentially could not have had a similar career path as the Calgary Hitmen selected him in the second round of the WHL’s 2015 Bantam Draft, but he opted to go in a different route.
He wanted to be a ballplayer.
“It probably is the most asked question, but I wouldn’t say it’s frustrating because I’m able to tell people that I don’t regret my decision for a second,” Noah told the Free Press on Friday.
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s unbelievable to see my brothers do such crazy things so far and be so successful in hockey. I’m just super grateful to be their brother and see their success and be a part of it. But there isn’t a day that goes by where I think ‘What if I chose hockey? Could I have gone further?’”
To further explain his reasoning, not that he should have to, Noah has an example he always likes to use.
“I like hockey, don’t get me wrong. I grew up playing it in the winter and baseball in the summer. I really like hockey, but I love baseball. The way I tell people is if it was the middle of winter and one of my buddies asked me to play catch, hit in the cages, or do whatever baseball related, I’d drop whatever I was doing and 100 percent go do that . Where if it was the summer and if someone came up to me and said, ‘Hey, want to go for a skate?’ I’d say no. When it’s baseball season, I want to be playing baseball.”
And that’s exactly what Noah has gone on to do as he’s a two-way star for the Okotoks Dawgs of the Western Canadian Baseball League and NCAA Div. II school Emporia State University. A product of the Okotoks Dawgs baseball academy, Noah played his first two years of college ball at Barton Community College in Kansas. The southpaw was recruited to pitch, but he ended up impressing them with his bat as well. Noah ended up having the best batting average on the team at .339 as a freshman.
From there, he transferred to Emporia State, which is also in Kansas, and continues to get the job done on the mound and in the batter’s box. He went 6-2 with a 5.04 ERA as a junior while also hitting .315 with a homer and 13 RBI in 33 games. Noah’s best numbers have come this summer with the Dawgs as he was named an all-star first baseman with his .351 batting average, one home run, 22 RBI, and 13 stolen bases. Post-season play starts Monday and Noah’s efforts have helped Okotoks to the West Division’s No. 1 seed.
Noah, who aspires to play pro ball after his upcoming senior season, might have another tough decision on the horizon. Will he try to make it as a pitcher or fielder? He’s leaning towards the standing on the rubber, but if his name doesn’t get called at the 2023 MLB Draft and/or if an independent ballclub doesn’t give him a shot, that’s fine, too.
“I tell people obviously I want to continue playing the sport as long as I can. But if that has to end and baseball stopped, I still wouldn’t regret my decision,” said Noah, a Physical Education major.
“If I could’ve gone deeper into hockey, it doesn’t matter. I absolutely love baseball. Whether my career goes as long as it can or stops earlier then I expect, obviously that would suck, but I’m gonna find ways to stay in baseball. I want to coach when I’m done.”
“Not only is he a good ballplayer, but he’s a great person and leader.”– Dawgs head coach Mitch Schmidt
Dawgs head coach Mitch Schmidt raves about Noah’s versatility and what he brings to his team. But Schmidt has even more to say about the kind of person Noah is.
“This might be taking it too far, but I have two daughters and after getting to know Noah, he’s the guy you’d let your daughters date. Not only is he a good ballplayer, but he’s a great person and leader,” said Schmidt.
“… He’s going to be a teacher in either Manitoba or Alberta, that’s what he’s planning (for after baseball). Those kids that are going to have him for a teacher, they have no idea how special of a person they’re going to have for a teacher because he’s going to give it his all. Not only is he going to give it with his whole heart and soul, he’s going to give them passion for whatever he’s teaching or whatever he’s a part of. He’s going to coach baseball, there’s no doubt about it. He’s got that baseball drive and IQ. It’s going to be cool to see where he goes down the road and I’ll be able to say ‘Hey, I coached him.'”
With the Geekie boys all doing their thing in different places, they don’t get the chance to be together too often anymore. They were all in Montreal to see Conor get drafted and briefly together last year for Morgan’s wedding. So when the pandemic hit, one positive thing was that it brought them all back to the family home in Strathclair, just northwest of Brandon, to be with their parents Craig and Tobi. And whether they’re in the same room or not, they often have to remind themselves how remarkable it is that three brothers from a small Manitoba town of 750 people have all gone on to accomplish so much as athletes.
“When we stop our feet and look around and think about it, obviously, it’s crazy. But I can’t say this enough, we’re forever thankful for our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and friends and family that have helped us throughout our years,” said Noah.
“We wouldn’t be where we are without them.”
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