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‘What every kid dreams about’: Sam Reinhart’s dad reacts to Stanley Cup game winner

Former Canuck Paul Reinhart acknowledged the people who have contributed to Sam’s success over the years, many from his hometown of West Vancouver
West Vancouver's Sam Reinhart hoists the Stanley Cup after scoring the game-winning goal in Game 7 of the NHL finals on Monday. | @NHL / X

Roars of celebration resounded from the walls of one West Vancouver home in particular on Monday evening.

The brothers, mother and father of Sam Reinhart jumped from their living room seats as the Florida Panthers forward wristed the puck past the glove of Edmonton goalie Stuart Skinner, giving his team a 2-1 lead at 15:11 in the second period.

That goal would turn out to be the game winner in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, securing Sam’s name in the history books as the player who sealed the Panthers’ first NHL playoff title.

Watching on with excitement, and nostalgia, was Sam’s dad Paul Reinhart, who played in the 1986 Stanley Cup Finals.

“What turns out to be a game-winning goal in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals is what every kid dreams about,” Paul said.

“It’s unbelievable just how excited his brothers, Theresa and myself were for Sam,” he said. “It was as much excitement that went along with that as the relief of finally getting this across the line.”

Paul and his family, who were there in person for games 3, 4 and 5, rode the rollercoaster of watching Florida’s 3-0 series lead slowly diminish to a 3-3 tie, which led to the Game 7 matchup on Monday.

The Panthers weren’t playing the game they normally play, which was frustrating to witness, Paul said.

“But we understood it. And so heading into [Monday], I thought that the pressure was off them going into Game 7, or at least it was shared equally between them and Edmonton,” he said.

“We were thrilled with the effort they put forth. That’s the Panthers team that we’ve seen all year,” Paul said.

Game-winning goal sums up Sam Reinhart's season and career to date, dad says

For Sam, the goal sums up his season and his career to date, Paul said. In the 2023-24 NHL season, Sam tallied 57 goals and 94 points in the regular season, and 10 goals with six assists in the playoffs.

“He’s had career numbers this year, but he’s always been a little under the radar for the type of game that he plays – a complete game,” Paul said.

“I thought that that whole line was a little bit more focused on making sure that they didn’t get scored on, than they were in terms of offensive contributions. That said, you can’t keep that line down forever, and it was great to see them produce,” he said.

After the game ended and Lord Stanley’s Cup was hoisted by Sam and his Florida teammates, the West Van player Facetimed with his family back home.

During the brief conversation, they all shared in Sam’s moment of joy, with the newly crowned champion acknowledging that it was a family effort too, Paul said.

Thirty-six years ago, it was Paul who led the way in the family of professional hockey players, making it all the way to Game 5 in the Stanley Cup Finals. But ultimately, his Calgary Flames fell to the Montreal Canadiens. His other sons Max and Griffin both played in the NHL but didn’t see much ice time in the playoffs.

Sam is the first in the family to win it all.

“Obviously the whole family, from the time we were kids all the way through, you’re always thinking about a Stanley Cup,” Paul said. “I don’t think it’s sunk in just yet. But when we see the cup and see our name on it, I think it’ll start to really sink in.”

“A lot of things have to go right to end up being on a championship team. So I’m looking forward to seeing that name on there,” he said.

Some of those now-fateful factors began in Sam’s childhood.

“Just like the rest of our family, we’ve been thrilled to raise our kids here in West Vancouver,” Paul said. “It’s a lot of contributions by a lot of people who helped along the way. I think the people who have contributed know that.”

Paul said he looks forward to sharing the celebration with Sam’s longtime supporters when the cup comes to his hometown this year.

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