CALGARY - At first glance, it’s a wonder Sam Reinhart didn’t end up being a goaltender.
The youngest brother of three hockey-playing siblings, Sam admits he spent some time between the pipes.
“My dad built us a playroom upstairs in our house,” the Kootenay Ice rookie said. “So (brothers Max and Griffin) always made me go in net.
“They threw the pads on me and kept shooting tennis balls at me.
“I think that made me hate goalies and made me a player.”
As it turns out, it was a good decision.
With three goals through the first five games, Sam leads the Ice — including Max, a second round draft pick of the Calgary Flames — in goals.
But the youngster, son of former Flames defenceman Paul Reinhart, said he won’t be making any wagers with his older brother.
“I don’t think so,” he said. “It’s a long season.”
In fact, the 15-year-old said billeting with Max has helped him.
“I give a lot of credit to my early success to him,” he said. “It’s made the transition, especially off the ice, a lot easier.”
The Reinhart trio appear to have a bright future.
Max led the Ice to the WHL championship last spring and then put in a solid showing at Flames camp this fall.
Griffin, an Edmonton Oil Kings defenceman, is pegged as a possible top-10 pick in this summer’s NHL Entry Draft.
And Sam is already making noise despite his young age.
But he doesn’t have any inside information on how to beat his 6-foot-4, 208-lb. brother when the Ice take on the Central Division rival Oil Kings.
“Well, he’s not very big,” Sam said with a laugh.
“I don’t think I can answer that. I’ll tell you when I figure it out.”
Max and fellow WHLers Sven Baertschi (Portland Winterhawks) are considered the Flames’ top prospects.
The eldest Reinhart said he was given a few things to work on this season by the big club.
“Mostly strength,” he said. “There’s more off-ice stuff I have to accomplish.
“I’ll try and do that throughout the season.”
Some junior players experience a bit of a swoon after they are returned by their NHL clubs, but Max has put up four points in three games.
“I have to find a way not to go into that slump that everyone seems to fall into once in awhile,” he said after the Ice lost 4-2 to the Calgary Hitmen to fall to 3-1-1 on the season.
Playing with his talented younger brother could make for some exciting nights this campaign.
They showed good chemistry when Sam was called up last spring.
“I played with him a little bit last year during the season and the playoffs,” Max said. “It should be a fun experience.”
Max said he and his brother play a similar game.
“He’s not as big so he can’t be as physical yet,” he said.
“But he’s a similar player. He does a lot of the same things I do.”
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