Reiter excited for new Islanders contract
It's been a long ice hockey journey for Plum native Kenny Reiter.
He's been all over the map since leaving his home while still in high school.
Reiter has seen a lot from junior hockey to the college ranks, where he won an NCAA national championship as the starting goaltender for the University of Minnesota at Duluth.
He now has taken a big step in his dreams of professional hockey.
Last week, the 27-year-old Reiter, in his second season with New York Islanders affiliate Bridgeport in the American Hockey League, signed his first NHL (two-way) contract.
“Having the opportunity to sign my first NHL contract was pretty emotional,” Reiter said.
Starting Islanders goaltender Evgeni Nabokov has gone through injury issues this year, and Reiter helps with the organization's depth at that position.
Reiter said the timing of the contract signing was even more special as his parents were in town over the weekend to watch him play.
In his second season with Bridgeport, he has a 7-7-2 mark in 17 games with a .900 save percentage in 858 minutes.
Fellow Bridgeport goaltender Anders Nilsson has seen action in 20 games for the Sound Tigers, and he currently is up with the Islanders as the backup to Kevin Poulin because of Nabokov's injury.
Nabokov left in the first period of the Islanders' 7-3 win over the Dallas Stars on Jan. 6.
Reiter made 23 saves in Saturday's game against Portland, but the Bridgeport offense was shut down in a 2-0 loss.
Last year, he played 12 games for Bridgeport and produced a .916 save percentage in 546 minutes between the pipes.
Reiter said going to Islanders training camp this year was a big step for him.
“Seeing the way Nabokov, Nilsson and other players conducted themselves as professionals was one of the biggest things for me,” he said. “It was nice to get out there and make a few stops. You get that confidence of knowing you are able to play at this level.”
Reiter got a chance to play in two preseason games with the Islanders — against Calgary in Regina, Saskatchewan, and in Ottawa against the Senators.
“Getting to put on the Islanders jersey with my name on it for the first time was a feeling I will never forget,” Reiter said.
“Hopefully, I will get the chance soon to do it when it counts.”
Reiter said he is grateful for all of the steps he's taken and lessons learned along the way.
“I always try to take the time to reflect on where my career has taken me and some of the success I've had,” Reiter said.
“It's amazing to see where it started to where it is now. The road that I took to get here wasn't the smoothest, but it's something I take great pride in.”
To keep up with Reiter's progression, visit the Bridgeport Sound Tigers website at www.soundtigers.com.
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825, at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Mlove_Trib.
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