Player Spotlight highlights the finer details and elements while supplying insight to the fans on what a player's thought process may be pertaining to a certain play, game or situation. It brings the intensity, passion, and inner most thoughts of the individual player that otherwise may not be felt or heard.
|You grew up in Coquitlam. Did you get into lacrosse because Tor was playing or was it just the thing to do?|
It's kind of the thing to do in Coquitlam, I'd say, but we had a family friend who really pushed Tor and I to play lacrosse. Things just went from there.
|So you started pretty young?|
Yeah, pretty much as soon as I could. I think Mini-Tyke.
|They don't call it Peanuts out West?|
|I don't know if that's a Peterborough thing—we call it peanuts and let the tykes have their own group—but tykes are pretty mini anyway.|
[Laughing] It's basically just one big loose ball.
|You started playing as a little kid and obviously lacrosse has been a big part of your life, box and field.|
|Yeah, field was something to keep the stick fresh at first. In the offseason I'd play hockey as well. So I usually rush from hockey practice to field lacrosse practice.
|Did you have much of a preference among the three?|
Field was probably on the lower end at first just because it wasn't very serious and we didn't see much of a future in it. Then box lacrosse was probably at the top and hockey in the middle at first. Then I started focusing on lacrosse. I played with the Burnaby Mountain Selects and did some traveling stuff and then when I went to school in the states is when I started to like field lacrosse quite a bit more.
|What took you to Limestone?|
At first I was set on taking engineering in post-secondary, and then I went to UVic for two years, didn't really like engineering, and then it opened up some doors in the States after that. I had a good summer of junior so they contacted myself and Vinny Ricci who I was also going to school with at UVic. My brother being had a bit to do with it as well. They bugged us all summer so we just decided to take the leap of faith and go down there.
|That summer, 2012, you guys were at the Minto Cup in Whitby and the year before the Adanacs were in the Minto as well.|
|I didn't play that year. I actually pulled my groin pretty early in the season and things just never came together for me. They had a pretty good team as it was. I didn't really play much lacrosse that summer, a little bit of Jr B and I think I played Langley's final two games and two playoff games. The next year was when I started to get some more playing time. We went to Whitby and lost in the finals, then I guess I played one more Minto in New West in 2013.
|Did your courses carry over from UVic when you went to Limestone?|
Some of them did. That's why I only had to go to school there for three years. I had switched out of engineering pretty quickly at UVic and gone into economics. When I went to Limestone I continued with business/ economics.
|What does that lead you to? Away from lacrosse, what are you thinking of career-wise?|
I wasn't too sure. I just quickly realized engineering wasn't for me. My dad had really wanted me to take it. I enjoyed physics and that but once I started taking engineering at school I didn't like it that much so I didn't really have a career path. While I was at Limestone, I started being really interested in sports management, being an agent, stuff like that. So I decided to go to law school. I thought that would be a good way to open some of those doors.
|So you've been in school for a while, two years at UVic, three years at Limestone, this is your second year at Western and you have another year.|
Yeah, one more year next year.
|On the floor, you've played both and had a lot of success in the box then you go and play at Limestone and got away from the box game for a while, right?|
Sort of. I broke my wrist while I was at Limestone and that's the year that I got drafted to senior. The first national championship we won at Limestone was my second year there and I played in the final with a cast that went all the way up. I could barely move my thumb and just kind of my fingers. I couldn't move my wrist at all. It was really hard to play. Then when I came back to senior they suggested that I probably shouldn't play box. Field you can get away with it but box if I was jamming people it wasn't going to work out so I was advised by the doctors to take the whole summer off. Then the year after that I was still in the US and it just wasn't a very good fit. I had some trouble meshing with the game they played. Then getting traded to Coquitlam was probably the best thing.
|With the injury, a lot of people wouldn't know. I didn't really know why you weren't playing very much those summers. You were at the Rock camp last year. I had gotten to watch you at the Baggataway Cup and thought, “Oh, Reid Reinholdt, he's back”. Then you get to Rock camp and with the list of players who get invited to camp I don't think a lot of people expected that you were going to make the Rock and be a player. What were your expectations going into that?|
I was going in hoping to make the team. I don't know that I'd say expecting to make the team because I didn't know who I was up against, really. I was going in there just planning to give it my all and hope for the best. Originally they had me playing a bit of both ends because they knew I played midfield so they had me playing some one on one defence, just testing me out. I think that's part of what they liked was that I can do both. Things just developed from there.
|That's what Tor did as well, mostly playing forward in junior then moving to transition with Calgary.|
Yeah, I think his last year of junior he started doing a bit more transition type stuff. He's a gritty guy. A similar kind of situation. I think they saw some similarities between us, too.
|So what did they tell you at the end of camp when you were put on the practice squad?|
I actually had some issues at camp. At one of my first practices I pulled a hamstring, tweaked it.
|You're a bandaid.|
I never thought so. It was just those two things. Then I tried playing through it, they taped it up and did some stuff, and I ended up pulling my other one.
|Because you were favouring the other one?|
Yeah, overcompensating. I didn't have very good feelings after that, I thought I was probably in trouble in terms of making the team. But I guess they saw a few things they liked early on and decided to keep me around and they said one of the main reasons was they liked having practice roster guys that could filter in on O and filter in on D. It makes it easy to switch the lineup. They said just be ready for either one. Obviously, I was trying to get more in the offensive drills than the defensive drills when I could but they made sure I did both. It just turned out that there were some injuries on the left side early on and so I got a few looks.
|Turner gets hurt early...|
Steph[an Leblanc] was hurt for a couple of games, too. He hurt his hamstring, too, actually.
|What game did you get into? It was early in the year. Second game of the year?|
Second game, first game at home, against Saskatchewan. My parents flew out for that. It was kind of last minute because we weren't sure if I was going to be playing. So that was a pretty exciting game. I'll never forget that.
|That's tough like you were saying with your parents. You get activated. You don't necessarily know until game day if you're going to be playing.|
I was really on their case about it, Am I going to be in, I want to tell my parents, am I going to be in? They didn't want to commit 100% either way. I think it was maybe the Wednesday or Thursday so my parents just bought their ticket and came out right away. Treated me to a nice dinner the night before then I hung out with them after. It was awesome.
|That was a huge game for you guys and for you personally. A lot of people, and again because you get off the radar and people move on to the next thing. Nothing against you or any other player, it's just the next guy up. So you step into the lineup and everyone's like, Oh Reid Reinholdt's playing, I remember him from junior. For you it was huge. You scored the one diving goal, didn't you?|
Not in that game. I just scored a timely goal in that game because they were starting to claw back a little bit.
|Right. Because you got the big lead.|
I just curled out of the middle, caught a pass then just shot it short side low, I think.
|How did that feel?|
Awesome. I don't think I've celebrated that hard for a regular season goal before.
|Did you see your parents in the stands when you got that goal? Did you manage to make eye contact?|
They were lost in the crowd up there for sure.
|They were pretty stoked after, I imagine, to see you.|
Yeah, they were pretty excited. So was I.
|That's obviously a big moment but later in the season, you're playing Georgia, it comes down to you guys pulling the goalie for an extra attacker. You score with a minute two left, a nice cut through the middle. Then, 44 seconds into overtime. That was an incredible game, two great feeds, one from Leblanc and one from Schreiber. If anybody was wondering if you belonged on this team as a rookie, i think it became pretty clear there that you had a role for them.|
Yeah, they kept giving me a bad time about it because it seemed like I kept scoring in the fourth quarter and I wasn't scoring earlier in the game. It certainly wasn't by choice but they kept going, why don't you just get those ones earlier and we wouldn't be in this position.
|We wouldn't even have to go to overtime.|
Exactly, but that was a good moment. They slowly started putting more faith in me throughout the season and I meshed well with Steph. We seemed to be on the same wavelength in terms of style of play, things like that. They enjoyed our two-man game, sending us out together.
|Now you're in a situation where Adam Jones comes in and Stephan Leblanc is still there. Turner Evans, is he gone for the year?|
He could be. It's not 100% sure but he has some recovery time.
|So you don't have to worry about that spot for now, but McArdle showed some things last year, they draft Daniel Craig who a few years ago looked like a very promising prospect but hasn't played in a bit...any time you go to an NLL camp as a young player there's competition. You know you're not written into the lineup in pen at this point.|
Yeah, we have Mikey McDonald there, too. There's definitely some competition, there's people breathing down my neck. That's how I like it, too. I like being pushed. I think it makes me better when there's somebody who's ready to take my spot. I feel more comfortable than last year, that's for sure. I'm still not going to slack off or anything.
|You've got to put your nose to the grindstone. It's got to feel nice, like you say you've got someone breathing down your neck. It's gotta be better than being the guy breathing down someone's neck hoping to get a shot.|
That's true, although I didn't mind that role, either. At least I had somebody's neck to breathe down.
|Any chance to be in the NLL, right, especially when you had a couple of years where you were pretty much out of the box game?|
Yeah, it was definitely a life-long dream and my summer coach put in a good word. Wesley Berg and Challen Rogers, since they were playing for Oakville, I think they put in a good word for me as well. They banked on those guys' opinions a lot, I think, to keep me.
|This year, obviously camp is a big deal but the Rock allowed you to come to Kingston to compete in the Baggataway Cup. Obviously you'd like to be with the Rock as well but this is a pretty big deal.|
I consider myself a team guy. I would absolutely hate to play the entire year with these guys and then leave during the finals, but if the Rock told me I had to be there I was going to be there. That's my first priority. Matt Sawyer said that he supports myself, Latrell [Harris] and [Brandon] Slade coming here. I think a lot of lacrosse guys understand that. You only have these opportunities a limited number of times so you may as well take advantage of them.
|Did you all drive down together?|
No. Those two drove together and I drove on my own.
|Separated by schools.|
We probably should have.
|You're going to go up against them tomorrow. In the back of you mind there's a bit of Rock camp but you forget about that, that you're teammates and Rock camp once you get on the field tomorrow, right?|
Yeah, for the most part. Every once in a while, if I get a little attack shift or something and Latrell's down there, I'll say hi. Field lacrosse is one of those things that, I don't think you have to completely forget about those things and be ultra-aggressive. I think you can still just play lacrosse.
|It's been quite a year, you had the injury issues with your hand and your hamstrings and stuff, you win the Baggataway Cup in your first year at Western, play a huge role in helping Western win for the first time since 2001. You make the Rock. The big win in Georgia with those pair of goals. A lot of stuff going on for you. Did it feel sort of unreal?|
I was not expecting to have a year like that. I came out to Toronto, I was going to law school, I had never visited London, I had hardly even been out East. I decided to come out here because I had the opportunity with the Rock. It was just a giant leap of faith. I had no idea it was going to pan out the way it did.
|Were you coming to Western first or were you invited to the Rock camp first?|
I had a few different school options and I was of settling on Western because they have a Sports Solutions Clinic, which is the only one of its type in North America. That really caught my eye and drew me to the law school. Although I haven't been able to get into the clinic yet, so that part didn't really pan out. But Western was first and then my coach told the Toronto Rock GM and Assistant GM that I was coming out here and that they should invite me and take a look.
|Obviously your goal is to win tomorrow (which they did, taking a thrilling 16-14 overtime decision over the Brock Badgers) but what is your plan next. What are you looking forward to?|
I'm just waiting for the season to start. Being back in the box, it was a ton of fun. There's something about the NLL style. I don't know if it fits better for me, I don't know if everybody enjoys it more than summer...it just seems like more proper lacrosse in my mind. You don't have all the cheap shots off ball. You can go and set picks, you can dive across the crease, there's more net to shoot at. I'm excited that box lacrosse season is close and being on a competitive team. Coquitlam's been struggling in Sr A.
|You talk about the shots off-ball. It's quite clear that the NLL is quite focused on letting skilled players play skilled lacrosse.|
Their rules are well-suited for offensive players, I'd say.
|So if you switch back to the defensive side you're going to have to learn some new tricks.|
I usually just try to talk and listen as much as I can. When I was back there, there's always those veteran guys who make it so easy to play with them, they just tell you exactly what to do. So if I have to play defence this year I won't have a problem with that.
|This whole Ontario thing's working out pretty well for you. I grew up in Ontario, moved out West for rowing and school and was out there for quite a while. I lived in Victoria and North Vancouver. You get pretty used to that coast. I'm sure you're missing it but Ontario's treating you pretty well.|
Yeah, Ontario's treating me pretty good. I don't have any immediate plans to stay in either place. I signed a three-year contract so it's looking like I'll stay out here, maybe article out here, but right now I'm just looking for a job and also sticking with the Rock.
Stephen Stamp is the co-editor of IL Indoor and was the Tom Borrelli Award winner as the National Lacrosse League's Media Person of the Year in 2013. He also does play by play and/or colour commentary for the Toronto Rock, Major Series Lacrosse, the Canadian Lacrosse League and in 2015 called 27 games at the World Indoor Lacrosse Championship. He hosts Boxla Beat, the leading lacrosse podcast, on NLL Radio.