Max, Griffin and Sam Reinhart
were born after their father Paul's NHL career ended prematurely at age 29 because of chronic back problems. But that doesn't mean they haven't seen their Dad perform in his prime.
Every once in a while one of them -- or all three -- will sit in front of the television with a clicker in hand trying to find something to watch.
Then, their Dad will of a sudden appear on ESPN Classics. It may be the 1981 Canada Cup or the 1986 Stanley Cup final when he was a standout on the Calgary Flames blue line or it may be one of those legendary Battles of Alberta between the Flames and Edmonton Oilers.
Whatever game is featured, Paul's graceful skating stride is unmistakable. So is that vision that made him such an offensive force from his defence position.
"It's always fun to watch those games," said the youngest, Sam, an 18-year-old centre with the Kootenay Ice who will create his own memories over the next 10 days on the Canadian junior team with his 19-year-old brother Griffin.Canada opens action against Germany on Thursday
in Malmo, Sweden (7:30 a.m. ET).
"It's fun to see him play," Sam added. "But it's also neat to see how much the game has changed."
Paul's final and 731st combined NHL regular season and playoff game was at the Los Angeles Forum on Mar. 31, 1990. He had moved on to the Vancouver Canucks by then and he went out with a bang. He scored the game-winning goal and added an assist in Vancouver's regular-season finale, a 6-3 victory on the road.
Shortly after, Reinhart disappeared into the business world. Just like he excelled on the ice, he was as a prolific investor. But after almost two decades away from hockey, Papa Paul has been pulled back to the game with his three sons.Max
, a 21-year-old centre with the Abbotsford Heat, already has played 15 NHL games for the Flames. Griffin
is a New York Islanders prospect who performs for the Edmonton Oiler Kings and will participate in his second world junior tournament.
Sam is strong candidate at this point in the season to be the first overall selection at the 2014 NHL entry draft.3rd brother combo
When Sam and Griffin, who will sit out the first three games of a suspension for an slashing incident in the world junior a year ago, suit up together they will be the third brother combo to play for Canada in this tournament. Mike and Randy Moller won gold together in 1982. Dougie and Freddie Hamilton helped Canada win bronze in 2012.
"It has been fun to be able to play with him instead of against him," Griffin said. "It reminds me of our minor hockey days [in West Vancouver playing in the Hollyburn system] when we played on the same team every second year."
Paul never played in a world junior. In the late 1970s, when he was a star with the Kitchener Rangers, Canada usually had the defending Memorial Cup champs represent this country at the world junior.
There was an all-star team formed for the 1978 tournament in Montreal. A 16-year-old Wayne Gretzky starred on that team. Although, it was evident Paul had a bright future he didn't hit his stride as a teenager until the following 1978-79 season when he scored 51 goals and 129 points in 66 games for Kitchener.
"It's definitely nice having a father who played the game at such a high level," Sam said. "He always has good advice."
Paul, who will turn 54 on Jan. 6, tries to watch every game his three sons play either live, on television or the Internet or on tape. According to Sam, Paul keeps game-tape archives on each son. He usually discusses each game with Max, Griffin or Sam either that night or the next day.
"There's not one piece of advice that stands out," Griffin said. "It's more like he's guided us along.
"He's done a good job separating himself from being a day and a hockey coach."
Because Max and Sam play forward, Griffin usually draws most of the comparisons to his father.
"When I watch those games I see similarities in the way we skate and the way we think the game," Griffin said. "Other people have told me that I play like my Dad. But he was more offensive than I am."
Paul and his wife Theresa will be in Malmo watching their two younger sons play for Canada. Max, no doubt, will be watching when he can back in Canada.
Who knows, maybe one day the family will one day to sit down together and watch a gold-medal win on ESPN Classics.
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