by Lisa McRitchie on 10/05/11 at 04:00 AM ET
The WHL has been the starting point for many NHL careers; it’s a dream held by most players in the league. For the three Reinhart brothers, Max, Griffin and Sam that dream is a little closer to home than for others. The Reinhart brothers are sons of Paul Reinhart, former Calgary Flame and this year all three brothers are playing in the WHL.
Max and Sam currently play for the Kootenay Ice and the middle brother Griffin plays for the Edmonton Oil Kings. Max was drafted in the second round of the 2010 NHL entry draft by the Calgary Flames and is currently considered one of the team’s top prospects, Griffin is projected to be a top draft pick in this year’s selections, and Sam will have to wait his turn.
Max has recently returned to the Kootenay Ice from the Flames’ training camp with goals of improving his strength.
Although the two are brothers, Max isn’t sure how to describe Sam’s style of play. “I haven’t played with him too much. I think he’s obviously right now needing stength, he’s not as big yet and can’t be as physical. I think he’s a very similar player and thinks a lot of the same things that I do.” Sam only played 11 games with the Ice last season, but Max looks forward to playing a full season together this year.
Max will have plenty of opportunities to grow his relationship with his brother this season and believes that the two of them on the same team will help Sam. “I think it helps for sure, a little bit of familiarity. You don’t feel alone, we live together too. He’s got someone to talk to all of the time. Our parents will be up and down probably a little bit more just because there are two of us here.”
For his brother Giffin, Max doesn’t feel that he will be able to offer the same support, especially when it comes to Griffin’s draft selection. “I wasn’t going to get the same media attention that he is. So I’m not sure what to tell him when he’s rated in the top 10-15 picks, that was never me but if he wants advice I guess I could give him some.”
The three brothers currently don’t have any friendly competitions going, but “it might have to start soon.”
Sam Reinhart has only just begun his WHL career, but is already being touted as a top prospect for the 2014 NHL entry draft. At this point, it’s not something that Sam focuses on although he knows that his draft year will be much different from others.
At 15, Sam is definitely young enough to expect to grow taller. “I feel like I’m not done yet, I’ve got some ways to go.” And do you think that you could be taller than Griffin? “I’d like to think that.”
Sam Reinhart, often seen in front of the net
Sam had a variety of new experiences last season, and had some takeaways from his teams’ Memorial Cup run; “Just seeing how all of the older guys handle that. I know that in a few years I’ll be leading this team here trying to lead them back to there and just seeing how all of the older guys handled it will give me good experience for my turn. “
While playing for the Ice, Sam is also completing his high school diploma and finding a balance. “We’ve got a lot of time on the road to catch up on stuff. So, there’s no reason for anyone to be behind.”
When I asked if he had a favourite subject, Sam was quick to reply “Not really no. Probably social if I had to say one. “ And the reason for that response, “It’s the easiest one out of my three.”
As the younger brother, Sam is used to sibling rivalry but now Griffin may feel like the odd man out, especially since Griffin is the only defenceman while the other two play centre and on the same team. ”I’m not sure I’ll have to ask him about that one. There’s obviously a lot of talk about that right now.” Although I expect a very political response, this will be one of my first questions for Griffin.
On goals for this year, Sam intends to “Just do everything I can to help the team win this year. Obviously I have some time in the league for sure here so, just night in and night out help my team win and do everything I can.”
In terms of how Sam sees himself as a player “I’m in the right place at the right time I think that if my game is on that night, the puck seems to be finding me and I have a lot of time with the puck. I can also grind the puck a little which will help create and my line-mates are great at finding space, opening up so that I can find them a little easier.”
Sam is already off to a great start with the Ice, so his game has been on more often than not. In five games the young centreman has three goals and an assist and is of course looking for more.
It’s a long season, and too soon to tell which Reinhart brother will put up the most points but it will be fun watching the competition.
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Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
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