By Mike Stackhouse
1996 D Nick Rein (Calgary AB) is coming into his own as a well rounded defenseman as he gets set to wind down his Junior ‘A’ career.
The Notre Dame Hounds veteran and son of former Prince Albert Raider goalie Kenton Rein (early 1990’s) has always been a stay at home, keep it simple defenseman. But, that has changed over the last few weeks. “I’ve always felt that I’m a good teammate and someone the guys can lean on. I’m sure having a dad who was a goalie had an effect on me. After all, I’m a defenseman and not a fourth forward or else they’d just call you a forward,” he jokes. “You have to take care of your end first. I have always felt that I need to be there to help out the goalie.”
In fact, Rein has never put up double digit point totals ever, if you go back through eliteprospects.com and view his career year to year totals since the Midget AAA ranks. But, that has changed with a hot second half. In particular, it changed shortly after offensive rearguard Tyler Podgorenko was traded to Bonnyville (AJHL) as Rein put up 7-points in his first 5-games following the January 10th deadline. “It’s tough seeing a teammate leave, but someone had to step up and Clint (Mylymok) gave me a shot. I’ve taken it and tried to work it to my advantage by making the most of it. I’ve never been an offensive threat. I’m more of an ‘off the glass and out’ type of player; so I’ve been surprising myself a little bit; although I worked hard in the summer on my skating and puck handling in case I got an opportunity like this.”
“Clint has been great. He’s changed my style a little bit. Instead of making that first pass and changing, he has me jumping up in the play and playing on the powerplay. It’s not awkward, but it’s different because instead of getting off the ice, you do become that fourth forward sometimes. I’m enjoying it.”
Rein’s dad was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres and carved out a minor professional career in the United States and that means Nick has dual citizenship as a Canadian and American, which may work in his favor for a scholarship down the road. He expects to write his SAT this Spring and carries an academic average in the low 80s on his resume. Having attending Notre Dame through his midget years, Nick has seen a number of teachers make an impact on his life and that has pushed his primary non-hockey interest into the Education field.
Rein says the Hounds are well positioned for the stretch drive. “We’ve settled down since the trade deadline. A lot of the young guys were nervous from that and I think we’ve just found our roles. We have a skilled group and we are starting to recognize that. It helps that we are also finally healthy.”