Reinhart ecstatic to make his NHL debut in his hometown
VANCOUVER, BC -- When players are recalled by their NHL teams, there can be lengthy commutes involved. Hours upon hours in airports and long bus rides are the routine, especially if the team is playing on the road.
Max Reinhart didn't have that issue.
The Flames 2010 third round draft pick hopped on a shuttle in Abbotsford this morning, making the quick trek to Vancouver to join the Flames at their hotel for their team meeting.
"It picked me up in the morning from the rink. I said goodbye to all of the guys down there and they all wished me luck."
The West Vancouver, BC product will make his NHL debut tonight and is ecstatic at the chance to achieve this milestone in his home town.
"I've dreamed of playing in this building pretty much my whole life," he said. "Two teams that my father played for. When I got the call last night, I couldn't have been more excited. It hasn't really hit me yet and I'm still just really excited to be in this situation."
Reinhart's dad, Paul - who played 517 games with the Flames, will be in attendance tonight along with his mother Theresa.
"They're from West Van so it's a quick 15 minute drive to the building," he said with a grin. "I couldn't have asked for a better situation, to be able to play my first game in front of them."
His younger brothers, Griffin and Sam, are unable to attend due to their own hockey commitments. Griffin is in the midst of the WHL playoffs with the Edmonton Oil Kings while Sam is off in Toronto at the Canada World U18 training camp.
"Unfortunately they're away playing hockey as well. So I'm kind of upset they're not going to be here but I'm not going to complain."
The 21 year-old, who is playing in his first full professional season, has kept up with the Flames throughout the year and knew the organization wanted to get some younger bodies in the lineup down the stretch but the call yesterday still caught him off guard.
"After the game last night (in Abbotsford), I had a meeting with the head coach Troy Ward down there and he said, 'Just be ready.'
"I just went right home, I was watching the highlights and I finally got a call. I was pretty much speechless from there."
The first person Reinhart met with this morning was Flames head coach Bob Hartley and the bench boss had a simple message for his newest charge.
"Have fun," he smiled. "Do your best. I told him, at the end of the game, you don't say to yourself, 'I should have done this.' Be yourself, have some fun. It's your first game, it's your dream.
"We're all with him and he's going to play a lot."
Reinhart will be playing on the left wing tonight. He has played at that position and at centre in Abbotsford.