Alexis Lafreniere was selected first overall by the New York Rangers in the NHL draft on Tuesday evening. The first Canadian team to draft a player was the Ottawa Senators and they used the third overall pick to select Tim Stuetzle.
The organization also selected Jake Sanderson, Brandon Wheat Kings star Ridly Greig, Roby Jarventie, Tyler Kleven, Egor Sokolov, Leevi Merlainen, and Eric Engstrand. That took the Senators through the 158th pick, but they weren’t done.
Already having picked one Brandon Wheat King star, Ottawa stayed in the Wheat City. With the 181st overall pick, they selected Cole Reinhardt. From Irricana, Alberta, Reinhardt has played four full seasons with Brandon.
“It’s a pretty special feeling, my phone was blowing up with people congratulating me,” said Reinhardt. “Every kid wants to get drafted and I couldn’t be any happier to be drafted by the Senators organization.”
— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) October 7, 2020
After finding out the big news, Reinhardt and his family went to the Keg in Calgary to celebrate. Even More than 24 hours after being drafted, Cole said it hasn’t fully set in yet.
With the draft now in the past, Reinhardt’s preparations for the upcoming Western Hockey League season continue. He is set to return for his final season in Brandon which will also be his fifth with the organization. He was rewarded for all his contributions last season as he was an assistant captain.
“That was a great honour for me. I had a ton of fun being a leader, we had such a great group of guys,” he continued.
Back in his rookie WHL season in the 2016-2017 campaign, he scored three goals and added four assists in 61 games. Since that year, Reinhardt’s offensive production has spiked every year. He had 34 points the following year which was followed by a 45 point season. Last year, Reinhardt tickled the twine 31 times — the second-most on the team only behind Luka Burzan — as he recorded a career-high 55 points in 56 games.
In 252 regular-season games, Cole has scored 75 goals and added 66 assists. He’s averaging more than half a point-per-game.
“I think it just proves that I’m improving every year,” said Reinhardt. “I’ve had the opportunity to play with a bunch of great players and they help me succeed every day.”
Cole’s 55 points last year were the fourth most on the team. The Irricana native also won 54.5% of the faceoffs he took — the second-best on the team only behind Ty Thorpe — and his eight power-play goals were tied for second.
The WHL has said they hope to begin the new season in early December. Brandon won 35 games last season. That had them just six points behind Prince Albert for the top spot in the East Division. With a solid core of returning players which includes the likes of Reinhardt, Ridly Greig, and Braden Schneider, just to name a few, Cole is extremely excited to head back to Brandon as the Wheat Kings look to get back to the promise land.
“I know there are a lot of guys that believe we’re going to have something special,” offered Reinhardt. “With the players we have and the coaches we have, I really do believe we’re set up to have a ton of success here.”