When Griffin Reinhart wants a little advice on playing defence, or on how to carry himself as a player and a person, he doesn’t have very far to go.
Reinhart, 16, is the son of Paul Reinhart, who played 648 NHL games with Atlanta, Calgary and Vancouver between 19.
And while Griffin wasn’t around to see any of his dad’s on-ice career (he was born four years after Paul’s retirement), he’s heard the stories and seen the highlights enough to know he’s got a pretty good source of information.
“I haven’t really seen much of him playing, I’ve just heard a lot about it,” Griffin says. “I know he did a lot, and he just gives me tips on pretty much everything.”
Well, almost everything – Paul played in the days before the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, so when Griffin wants to talk about what to expect when he steps on the ice in Winnipeg, he looks no further than older brother Max, who wore the red and white for Pacific in 2009, winning a silver medal.
But it’s not just the international game the brothers can talk about. A rookie with the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings, Griffin is getting used to life away from home, something Max knows all about – he’s in his third WHL season with the Kootenay Ice.
“He gives me advice on how to handle being away from home,” Griffin says of 18-year-old Max. “He’s been through a lot of what I’m going through, so he’s a good person to talk to.”
If there’s one thing, though, that father and son can compare notes on, it’s playing under pressure. Although Paul may have the lead in that category – he played for Canada at the 1981 Canada Cup and in a pair of IIHF World Championships, as well as the Stanley Cup Final with the Flames in 1986 – his son has played in his share of big games, winning B.C. provincial championships in each of the last two years.
Griffin played Midget hockey as a 14-year-old, helping the Hollyburn Huskies to a B.C. Tier 1 title in 2008-09 before joining the Vancouver North West Giants last year and earning a B.C. Major Midget League championship.
Not surprisingly, it was Paul who introduced Griffin to the game, putting him in his first pair of skates at the age of two and signing him up for minor hockey four years later.
But the elder Reinhart says that despite his career choice, he doesn’t put pressure on his sons to follow in his footsteps.
“I’m not pushing them to make it a career,” Paul says. “They have to have recognition and be given an environment to pursue it. (Griffin) has a great opportunity, but there is a fine line between those that make it and the ones that don’t.”
Already six-foot-four, a high WHL draft pick (third overall by Edmonton in 2009) and the son of an NHLer, one would think the pressure to succeed might get to a teenager just beginning his Major Junior career.
Not so, says Griffin.
“I don’t really feel it,” he says of the pressure. “I don’t get nervous, I just use everything as motivation to get better.”