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A family affair at Top Prospects Game

by Mike G. Morreale

CALGARY -- The last time center Ryan MacInnis stepped on the ice at Scotiabank Saddledome was two years ago when his father, Hall of Fame defenseman Al MacInnis, was being honored as "Forever A Flame" to a capacity crowd.

The elder MacInnis, who played in 12 NHL All-Star Games and won the 1989 Norris and Conn Smythe trophies, was accompanied on the ice by his family and Flames alumni during a special pregame ceremony that was established to honor members of the Flames organization.

"It was pretty cool," Ryan MacInnis told "I walked out onto the ice with my family and dad made a speech. It was awesome to see how Calgary just loves him."

Ryan MacInnis returned to the Saddledome this week for the first time since that February 2012 evening to represent Team Cherry at the BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Wednesday (9 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, Sportsnet). The 6-foot-4, 185-pound MacInnis, who is in his first season with the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League, is one of five players in the game with fathers who played in the NHL.

Joining MacInnis on Team Cherry are center Sam Reinhart (Paul Reinhart) and left wing Daniel Audette (Donald Audette). Team Orr includes right wing Brendan Lemieux (Claude Lemieux) and left wing Brendan Perlini (Fred Perlini).

MacInnis has seen the video of his father raising the Stanley Cup as a member of the Flames in 1989.

Each player has his own story to tell with regard to making the most of a favorable situation growing up.

In addition to his father, Sam Reinhart also has two hockey-playing older brothers. Max Reinhart, 21, was taken by the Flames in the third round (No. 64) of the 2010 NHL Draft. The only defenseman of the trio, Griffin Reinhart, 19, was selected by the New York Islanders with the fourth pick of the 2012 draft. Paul Reinhart, who will serve as an assistant coach for Team Cherry, was chosen by the Atlanta Flames with the 12th pick of the 1979 draft.

"It's not just one thing in particular that I remember," said Sam Reinhart, who plays for the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League. "Over the years my two brothers and my father played big roles. I remember the car rides coming home after games and us discussing what we could have done better, what we did well. Dad wasn't a yeller but he definitely provided some constructive criticism that made us a lot better."

Lemieux, who stars for the Barrie Colts of the OHL, smiled when the topic switched to his father.

"He gave me a lot of insight into what I might be going through at a particular time, whether it's rough patches, points, getting points or staying humble," Lemieux said. "There are all sorts of different things he's been able to teach me. The most important, though, is keeping a good work ethic.

"He was drafted in the second round [by the Montreal Canadiens in 1983] and had really good junior numbers, but was pretty much a nobody from a small town [Buckingham, Quebec] to make it big and play 20-plus seasons in the League."

Claude Lemieux ranks ninth all-time with 80 goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He won the Stanley Cup four times (1986, 1995, 1996, 2000) and claimed a Conn Smythe Trophy as a member of the New Jersey Devils in 1995. He spent 22 seasons in the NHL with the Canadiens, Devils, Colorado Avalanche, Phoenix Coyotes, Dallas Stars and San Jose Sharks.

"I'm sure his dad taught him everything he knows; Brendan always says his dad is his biggest mentor," Barrie teammate and Team Orr captain Aaron Ekblad said. "I've even learned quite a few things through his dad because me and Brendan are roommates in Barrie. Dad passed along the importance of being a hard-nosed player."

Audette's father spent 14 seasons in the League with the Canadiens, Buffalo Sabres, Los Angeles Kings, Atlanta Thrashers, Stars and Florida Panthers.

"He told me that you always have to work harder than everyone if you want to have a career in hockey because everyone wants to play hockey but not everyone gives it all the effort," said Daniel Audette, a second-year forward with the Sherbrooke Phoenix of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. "He taught me that you have to give it a complete effort."

Brendan Perlini's father played eight games with the Toronto Maple Leafs in the early 1980s. The younger Perlini is in his third season with the Niagara IceDogs of the OHL.

"Dad just told me to be yourself out there; he's given me a lot of advice over the years and he's always said work hard at what you do even if you have the least-paying job," Perlini said. "No matter what you do you can still be the hardest worker. I've always taken that to the ice and I'll always have that in my back pocket."

NHL Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr acknowledged that seeing the next generation of hockey stars is a bit surreal.

"I know in the scouting fraternity you can't help but feel a little older when you see those familiar names on the backs of jerseys," Marr told "Many scouts even played with some of the fathers whose kids are now playing in the Prospects Game. But it's nice to see. Not that it will weigh heavily but it always kind of weighs in their favor if they come from a hockey family."


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