Max Reinhart played an awful lot of hockey last year.
After a regular season slightly shorted by an injury and a trip to Hockey Canada’s World Junior try-out camp, Reinhart took his Kootenay Ice into the WHL playoffs for a fourth straight time. After being eliminated from the playoffs, he jumped to the American Hockey League and joined the Abbotsford Heat in time for their playoffs.
FlamesNation’s Ryan Pike chatted with the eldest of the three hockey-playing second-generation Reinharts at Flames development camp.
Ryan Pike: You played a lot of hockey last year. How did your season go?
Max Reinhart: Obviously it would’ve been nice to get a bit of rest in the spring, I think going to Abbotsford and actually playing some pro hockey for the first time, I probably learned as much then as the last four years because of all the good players that are up there in that league. I got to experience that and get it under my belt, that experience. I think that was probably the most important part of my year, just getting into some games up there, especially some key playoff games. It really got me the confidence that I can perform at that level.
RP: How was the transition from being a leader and veteran in Kootenay to being a rookie in Abbotsford?
MR: It was alright. They made it very easy. Obviously I knew a lot of the guys from these camps and playing against them in the WHL. I think that the biggest adjustment was just getting into a new system at the end of the year there. I ended up producing pretty good numbers in the first couple games, and that just got me some confidence and I was able to get myself in the line-up and make a role for myself. That was really just my goal when I was there and kind of get noticed a little bit.
RP: As you head into next season, are you focused on making any particular team?
MR: Obviously the goal is to be in the NHL as fast as possible. That’s my goal this summer. I think I have a legitimate shot and it’s up to me for these next couple months to get ready and be able to put myself in that spot and hopefully earn my way on right from day one. But if not, I got to be working hard and just when I’m in Abbotsford, I got to make sure I stick out when I’m there and dominate down there so they have no choice but to bring me up. That’s my goals for the summer, to make the Calgary Flames, and I feel like this is the closest I’ve been to being able to crack it. Hopefully this is my year and I’m going to work very hard to get there.
RP: Does the fact that the Flames used so many call-ups last season, even bringing up Sven Baertschi from the WHL, motivate you heading into next season?
MR: It just shows players in the organization that there is opportunity. I noticed everybody getting called up and I’m dying to get my shot and I’m going to work hard to get it.