Sabres' fathers enjoying their time with their sons

Paul Reinhart and Bob Eichel have been big influences during the development of their sons' careers

Paul Hamilton
January 17, 2020 - 6:54 pm
Sabres Dads Trip

Photo: Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres)

Paul Reinhart was drafted 12th overall by the Atlanta Flames in the 1979 NHL Draft. After playing one season in Atlanta, Sam Reinhart’s dad got eight good years in Calgary and two more in Vancouver.

The former defenseman is here watching is son play on his first ever "Dads Weekend" and he couldn’t be happier, “It’s been a great experience. Certainly as part of the father group, you appreciate the opportunity to get together and spend some time with your kid in this environment. But as an ex-player, you regret that you didn’t have an opportunity to do this with your father.”

Back when Paul Reinhart played, there were no charter flights. At that time, teams flew commercial. Reinhart says there are other differences too, “It’s so much more professionally organized right from scheduling to nutrition to facilities. I mean, a huge difference in the facilities especially in the visiting room. It’s so much nicer.”

Sam has two brothers that played hockey in Griffin and Max. Their dad said all three sons have come to him over the years, “I’ve had a good relationship with all three of the boys and had the opportunity to coach all of them as kids growing up, so you always have the benefit of that. But Sam talks a lot, asks lots of questions, and I think he’s finding that he’s very comfortable this year and he’s looking at the philosophy that Ralph Krueger brings to the game is very similar from what he’s used to from me.”

Having been in the league, Paul Reinhart has to know what makes an NHL player tick. Sam said he appreciates that, “He’s got a really good sense of when it’s necessary or when I want it or when I need it.

“He knows when I’m looking for something or when I’m struggling a little bit, and maybe there’s been three or four instances this year when he’s pipped up and said something or went out of his way to watch a game or two and I’ll look out for his advice.”

Sam knew from the time he could put on skates that he wanted to be a hockey player. He said, “One thing growing up in Canada and another thing having my dad and brothers having played as well, it just always seemed normal and something I wanted to do.”

Most NHL players were playing the sport when they were very small. Bob Eichel said Jack could hardly put on skates when he wanted to play, “I knew he was going to be a hockey player when he was four-years-old because he was such a pain in the ass. He always had a stick in his hands.”

Many felt the win in Dallas was a signature win. It was on the road against the Western Conference’s second best team. Bob Eichel said he liked what he saw, “It was incredible because I couldn’t believe how well they played. I thought they were going to sit back, but that was the best period I’ve seen them play in a long time.”

Jack Eichel has been the Sabres' captain for just under two seasons. His dad said, “It’s probably because he’s making the paycheck, that’s why they wanted him captain. But when you’ve got guys like Zach Bogosian, Carter Hutton, Kyle Okposo, you have guys in the room that help him. I mean, he doesn’t know anything. He’s never played a playoff game, so I think it’s really by committee.

“He talks to a lot of people. He talks to me every day, not that I’m going to help him, but it’s pretty good. A lot of people are supporting him.”

You can only imagine what those conversations are like. Bob Eichel said, “He tries to stay positive, but there are times where you can say, ‘Man, you sucked’ like the other night when they were playing Vegas and I was up in the stands. In the second period, I said, ‘Geez, I thought you had the white jersey on playing for them in the second period’ and he gets the goal in the third and he said, ‘Yes, I had to regroup because I was forcing it a little bit.” Bob added, "You can’t be good every night. Sidney Crosby’s the best player in the world and he’s going to have off nights.”

The dads get to see their sons play in Nashville on Saturday night. The Predators have only won three of their last nine games and are now in sixth place in the Central Division.

Hear more from Sam Reinhart and his dad, as well as Bob Eichel and Ralph Krueger on the pregame show on Saturday night starting at 7:00 with Brian Koziol.

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