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McKeen’s Interview: Sam Reinhart, Kootenay Ice

McKeen’s Hockey correspondent Randy Gorman interviewed Sam Reinhart earlier in the season prior to the World Junior Championships. Reinhart continues to hold the number one spot on the McKeen’s Mid- Term Rankings released this past Thursday.

Sam Reinhart1 (2)Fresh off a compelling Top Prospects game in which he scored a goal and an assist as captain for Team Cherry, providing energy each time he was on the ice.  Sam’s father Paul Reinhart was an assistant coach minding the youngest of his burgeoning NHL dynasty, looking to join brothers Griffin and Max in the coming draft.  Griffin was selected fourth overall in the 2012 NHL Draft by the Islanders, and Max in the third round in 2010 by Calgary. 

Sam ultimately made the team and joined brother Griffin playing for Canada in the 2014 World Junior Championships. He and Aaron Ekblad were the only 2014 NHL Draft eligible players on Team Canada, allowing for an uneven performance that featured a hot start (2-2-2-4) and a quiet finish, not scoring a point in the final five games.

The WHL rookie of the year in 11-12 was named Kootenay’s captain at the beginning of the season after leading them in scoring in 12-13. Reinhart has displayed leadership throughout his career captaining Team Canada to a gold medal at both the Ivan Hlinka tournament in 2012 and the 2013 U-18 World tournament.

Currently on a four game goal scoring streak (4-8-2-10) he is ranked 11th in WHL scoring (37-24-36-60), second on the Kootenay Ice, despite missing 25% of the season with injuries to date. He should join brother Griffin as top five NHL Draft pick this coming June.


McKeen's: Where did you play your minor hockey?

Reinhart: I played at Hollyburn Club out of West Vancouver. It's a great place to play, with a lot of notable graduates like my two brothers Max and Griffin Reinhart, Morgan Reilly and Alex Kerfoot. who now plays for Harvard, all were drafted by NHL teams.

McKeen's: What was the biggest adjustment you had to make coming out of that program and playing major junior hockey?

Reinhart: I think there are a variety of adjustments you have to make when you make the jump to major junior. I think I was fortunate that I was able to billet with my brother Max and the same family really created a home like atmosphere that helped me a lot.

McKeen's: Are there any goals you wanted to set for yourself or the team this season?

Reinhart: My biggest goal is to be drafted, and to play in the NHL next season. In order to do that you have to do the little things that will allow me to succeed in that goal.

McKeen's: Your father Paul played in the NHL and had a long successful career. Your two older brother's Max and Griffin were also recently drafted. Have they all given you any advice this season on what to expect going forward?

Reinhart: I had a chance to both talk and watch my brothers come up through the system, and they have had a huge impact on my development, and also preparing me and getting me ready for what to expect at the next level. Just to see how they handled the media and the draft has prepared me for it as well.

McKeen's: Does it bother you that there are plenty of NHL scouts watching you every game?

Reinhart: No, they will always be there. You have to recognize that and keep that in the back of your mind. You just have to go out there and do the little things to help your team win.

McKeen's: What is the best part of your game and what are the things you want to work on?

Reinhart: The best part of my game I believe is my hockey sense, as I use it to my advantage. It's not something, you know, that you can teach, so anytime you can use that to gain an advantage over opponents is a real delight. The things I have to work on, well, as you get older you want to get bigger, stronger, and faster to play at the next level.

McKeen's: McKeen's recently has you ranked number one, how important is that to you on where you go in the draft?

Reinhart: Well, that's great to hear, but the season's not over yet, so I will just have to keep working hard and see what happens.

McKeen's: How important is it for you to make the Canadian World Junior team, and play at the International level?

Reinhart: For starter's it's a huge honour to be selected to the camp, so the next step would be making the team. Beyond that is just to play well and bring home a medal for Canada, and getting the experience against other elite World teams.

McKeen's: How important is learning the defensive aspect of the game in order to proceed to the pro level?

Reinhart: It's huge, everything starts in the defensive end of the ice. If your smart with positioning, and the fore-check, you can take away opposing player chances and start a transition turn around for your own team.

McKeen's: Who has had the greatest impact on your hockey career to date?

Reinhart: Definitely my whole family. In particular, my mom, who always seems to get the short end of the stick. She has been so supportive to us all through our hockey playing careers.

McKeen's: Is there any other sports or things you like to do away from the game of hockey?

Reinhart: Aside from hockey, the whole family enjoyed tennis, and we are all huge soccer fans.