NORFOLK, Va. – Norfolk Admirals goaltender Ty Reichenbach had a rookie season to be admired. Not only did Ty excel in both the SPHL and ECHL, but he also earned a postseason call-up to the Tucson Roadrunners, the current AHL affiliate of the Admirals. Also, he was named ECHL Goaltender of the Week twice; once in December and again in March. His breakout rookie campaign led to a contract renewal for the 2018-19 season.
The Sin Bin recently caught up with Ty, and this is what he had to say about his offseason, coaching, postseason call up and more.
The Sin Bin: Since the season ended what have you been up to?
Ty Reichenbach: As soon as the season was over, when I got back from Arizona, I had surgery on my knee. I was staying out in Virginia Beach working with our trainer, rehabbing that up. I’m back out in Montana, visiting my family and doing some fishing and camping. Just trying to enjoy Montana while I can.
TSB: Where do you currently go for your off-season training and who do you train with both on and off the ice?
T.R.: I go up to Canada, every offseason where I played high school hockey up in Saskatchewan and junior hockey. I go up there and I’m able to train for a couple of weeks, get on the ice with some of my old coaches and my old goalie coach. I get to see my first goalie coach when I was sixteen. I get on the ice with him. Other than that during the offseason, I’m kind of on my own. Being from Montana, I don’t really have access to hockey-specific trainers. I have to remember what I do during the season. I got a gym membership and you find ice anyway you can and just go from there.
TSB: Over the course of the season, teammates bond especially goalies. Even though you and Jamie Murray were competing for starting roles, how did you two push each other to become better?
T.R.: It started from day one. We had a college rivalry before we even met back in Norfolk. He played for Babson and I played for Norwich, one of the biggest college rivalries out in the New England area. We knew of each other and we had been battling for the previous two years playing against each other. Once we got there (Norfolk,) we ended up being roommates and got along great. It’s a job and we both understand that. We were battling for that net day in and day out practicing against each other. He’s a great goaltender and that pushes you even harder and we have that compete level back and forth. It made us both better goalies for it.
TSB: How was it having arguably two of the best coaches in the league in coach Robbie Ftorek and assistant coach Peter Sidorkiewicz and how did they help you improve?
T.R.: You get to camp, you see the coaches and then you start getting online and looking them up and you see both of their resumes. There’s videos of Robbie playing against Wayne Gretzky in All-Star games. It’s cool to know you have that much experience. Peter Sidorkiewicz was a goaltender and he made it up to the American League and the NHL level, so you know they have experience. So it’s a lot easier to learn from somebody who has the resume that speaks for itself.
TSB: With Sidorkiewicz being a former NHL All-Star netminder, what advice did he give you?
T.R.: When I signed, it wasn’t expected I would play 45 games. Once I started playing a lot more, he pulled me aside and said, “Hey, you have a great opportunity here make the best of it and run with it and enjoy every game and every time you get out on the ice. There are people out there that will do almost about anything to be in that position and just be grateful and have fun with it.”
TSB: How was it being named Goaltender of the Week twice in the ECHL?
T.R.: It makes you feel proud that someone out there is giving you some acknowledgment for your hard work. It’s not done by myself. It comes from the team playing well and showing up and meshing together as a team. It’s nice when someone on the team gets any recognition. It shows the acknowledgment that the team is meshing together and playing well.
TSB: You signed contracts in three leagues last year. If you were told that in the beginning, would you have believed it?
T.R.: Honestly, no. When I was with Roanoke coming out of camp, it was a dream come true just to be with the Admirals. Next thing you know, you’re playing as much as I did and getting that experience which I’m more than grateful for and then to tell me that I’ll be on the phone with Steve Sullivan, a guy that I watched playing growing up with the Penguins. To say that I got a call from him and I’m going to head over to Tucson was a dream come true. That was a pretty proud phone call. I got to call my Dad first and let him know what I was about to do and it was a pretty cool moment. I never would’ve guessed it would have happened in the beginning of the season.
TSB: How was the experience in Tucson and what did you learn during your time there?
T.R.: I learned a bunch working with Jon Elkin, the goalie coach there. I never got any playing time, but being on the ice as much as I was, bonding with the guys there for the short time I was there, and working with coaches and seeing what it takes to play at the next level was different. It was an eye-opening experience. I knew what to expect, but to be up there and see it first hand, you prepare yourself for that next level. They run a great organization and I’m glad we will be affiliated with them next season.
TSB: Last year the team fell short of the playoffs, as a returner do you feel like there is unfinished business?
T.R.: I think there is a tremendous amount of unfinished business. We were getting wins and keeping up with some of the best teams in the league. We were able to put up some points and some good wins so there is optimism in that. Definitely, we’re going to be pushing up and we’re going to be better and we need to better, we’re expected to better so we will.
TSB: It must be comforting to be affiliated with Tucson?
T.R.: There’s definitely some comfort in there. As you know, around the league there are no guarantees, but to know they’ve given me a shot before and they’re going to be an affiliate with us next year. Yes, there’s a little bit of comfort in there, knowing that they know what I can do and hopefully they’re willing to take a chance on me down the road.
TSB: Anything you would like to the tell the fans in Norfolk?
T.R.: I’m excited to come back. It was a great first year and the relationship you build with fans is a pretty cool experience. We have some great fans so I’m excited to get back and have another season with them.
The Admirals open their 30th anniversary season at home against the Wheeling Nailers on October 13.