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David Reinbacher Looks to Move Past Hate Comments

By: Sarah Overton

(Photo courtesy Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The NHL draft is a moment of celebration, hope and anticipation for young hockey players across the globe. For David Reinbacher, a talented prospect from the 2023 NHL draft class, his dreams came true when he was selected by the historic Montreal Canadiens. However, what should have been a joyous occasion quickly turned sour as Reinbacher became the target of hate comments and death threats. Despite this adversity, Reinbacher remains positive, determined to showcase his talents and make a mark in Montreal.

Reinbacher’s rough start in Montreal all started when legendary Canadiens goaltender Carey Price inadvertently forgot Reinbacher’s name during the announcement of the fifth overall pick.

After Reinbacher’s name was called, frustrated Canadiens fans at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville expressed their disappointment with audible boos. Many fans had anticipated the team selecting forward Matvei Michkov, who was subsequently chosen by the Philadelphia Flyers.

The negativity escalated further on social media, where upset fans resorted to expressing their anger through thousands of hate comments and even death threats directed at Reinbacher. Shockingly, some comments even compared the young Austrian-born defenseman to Hitler.

“It’s got to be kind of best-of-worlds and then a little bit of a disappointment when he’s getting some messaging and things on social media that are far from positive, which to us is a little bit unfortunate,” Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes said. “We understand fans can direct frustration towards management and scouting and we’re grown men. But you got a young man who had nothing to do with our decision who’s living out his dream.”

Amidst the negativity, a dedicated Canadiens fan named Patricia Neron decided to take action.

Neron rallied other fans and her followers on Twitter, and urged them to share messages of encouragement for Reinbacher. She compiled these messages in a small notebook, and with help from the Canadiens organization, Neron was able to hand deliver the notebook to Reinbacher on July 2.

Neron shared photos on social media of the notebook, highlighting some messages. On the first page, she wrote, “By making this book we wanted to show you that the Habs fans can be wonderful and very supportive. We hope this book will bring a smile to your face. Go Habs go!”

The photos of the notebook filled with messages of encouragement were widely shared on social media, capturing the attention of fans worldwide. Neron's thoughtful gesture and Reinbacher's genuine appreciation were also documented in a video that touched the hearts of many.

(Photo courtesy @suzukipizza/Twitter)

Reinbacher has expressed his willingness to play wherever the Montreal Canadiens deem best, whether that's back with his previous team HC Kloten in Switzerland, the WHL, or the AHL. However, according to The Athletic, concerns have been raised within the organization “in light of the torches and pitchforks running through the fan base right now, and that exposing him to that immediately might do more harm than good.”

Despite the initial challenges, Reinbacher possesses immense talent as a defenseman, making him an exciting prospect for the Montreal Canadiens.

While he may need to work on generating scoring chances for himself, Reinbacher’s impressive defensive skills and potential on the power play are notable. Additionally, his potential compatibility with prospect Lane Hutson, the NCAA's top defenseman last year, could create a formidable defensive pairing for the Canadiens.

As Reinbacher continues to navigate his path to success, both on and off the ice, he embodies the spirit of rising above hate and remaining focused on his passion for the game. Montreal Canadiens fans have every reason to be excited about the potential Reinbacher brings to the team.

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