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Two 19-year-old West Van hockey products living NHL dreams, for now
For now, each has his last name stitched on the back of an NHL jersey.
When the New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs submitted their final 23-man rosters for the start of the NHL season on Monday, they contained the names of a pair of young defenceman from West Vancouver.
Griffin Reinhart has made the final cut with the Islanders, while friend Morgan Rielly has done the same with the Leafs.
The pair grew up in West Vancouver where they played their minor hockey and attended the Sentinel hockey academy.
At last year's NHL Entry Draft Reinhart was selected fourth overall and Reilly went fifth.
Each player is 19 years old and can play up to nine NHL games on a trial basis and still be returned to junior hockey without affecting the first year of their pro contracts.
Diane Nelson, district principal for West Vancouver School District's sports academies, isn't surprised by the success of either player.
"It is without a doubt that we knew in Grade 8 that Griffin was destined to an extraordinary path in hockey with such outstanding skills at such a young age," she wrote in an email. "Griffin went about his training with a quiet determination to accomplish his goals. Griffin thrived and thoroughly enjoyed the competitive and challenging environment of hockey. We are all tremendously proud and excited to watch his ongoing success in the NHL.
She added this about Rielly: "Morgan is the ultimate role model for our young athletes, with his outstanding work ethic and his quiet determination. It appeared that with respect to hockey, Morgan always seemed to know where he was going and more importantly, he knew exactly how he was going to get there! We are all extremely proud of him."