Twice passed up in the NHL Entry Draft despite decent numbers with the Kelowna Rockets and the Portland Winter Hawks, Richie Regehr is on the verge of becoming a full-time NHLer.
The brother of Calgary defenseman Robyn Regehr signed a free agent contract with the Flames prior to the 2004-05 season and played with the Lowell of the AHL, leading the Lock Monsters in defensive scoring with nine goals and 16 assists in 64 games. He also paced the team in defenseman playoff scoring with one goal and six assists in 11 games.
After sharing Lowell with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2004-05, Calgary has its own AHL affiliate in the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights in 2005-06. In 36 games with Omaha, Regehr climbed to second in team defenseman scoring with 3 goals and 17 assists, behind fellow undrafted defenseman Mark Giordano. Giordano’s lead over Regehr will likely continue to grow, because the 23-year-old blueliner is currently playing with Calgary.
Regehr was first recalled by Calgary for a month on Dec. 26. He skated his first NHL shift Dec. 29 in a 4-2 win over the Minnesota Wild and assisted on Steven Reinprecht’s game-winning goal in the third period. After three games, his recall was punctuated by a one-day reassignment to Omaha for a game against the Chicago Wolves Jan. 6. Scoring a goal and an assist in the Knights 3-1 victory, Regehr returned to Calgary.
Seven games and an assist later, Regehr was returned to the Knights Jan. 25. Giordano was recalled by the Flames and Regehr was named to take his place in the AHL All-Star Game in Winnipeg Feb. 1. After scoring a goal and an assist in the All-Star Game, Regehr was recalled by the Flames the next and is back with Calgary again.
The 6’0 195-pound defenseman is known for playing a more offensive game than his 6’3, 232-pound brother, but he does enjoy playing the physical game nearly as much. Hockey’s Future caught up with the younger Regehr during his four-game AHL stint in Iowa Jan. 28, a game in which he scored on a quick wrist shot past the glove of Dan Ellis.
HF: You scored in the shootout, were you thinking wrist there the whole time?
RR: Yep, I have one move and that’s it, and I don’t stray away from that.
HF: You’ve had two recalls to Calgary this season, after those 10 games, what are the biggest differences between the NHL and AHL?
RR: Speed, probably, decision-making of the players, and physical play.
HF: What was it like being recalled by Calgary and how did it feel to skate your first NHL shift?
RR: It was awesome. I don’t remember it because I was so nervous, but it was awesome, it was something special that I’ll always remember.
HF: How did having your brother with you on the team affect things?
RR: It was good. It was nothing on the ice, I talk to him just like a normal player. It’s nice to have him off the ice there, stayed at his place, it was good.
HF: Did that help make your transition easier?
RR: I think so. I knew somebody really good, and through him I knew the other guys. So, it was good.
HF: You were undrafted in 2001 and 2002, did that disappoint you?
RR: I think so at the time, but whichever way I make it, it doesn’t matter to me.
HF: On the flip side, how rewarding was it then to sign a free agent contract with Calgary?
RR: I was glad that they gave me the opportunity. I’ve just got to grow as a player right now.
HF: What made you decide to sign with Calgary?
RR: I think, I was contemplating, I don’t know. I think if I wouldn’t have, I might have regretted it later had I not given myself the opportunity, so I went for it.
HF: What do you feel are the strengths of your game?
RR: Probably puck movement and shooting. I don’t want to say offensive defenseman, but I like to shoot and I like to move the puck.
HF: What are you trying to improve on so that you can stick in Calgary?
RR: I think just staying in the game, not backing off during the game, big times in the game, moving my feet with the puck and just all around defense and playing a lot stronger.
HF: What are some of the things that make Richie Regehr different from Robyn Regehr?
RR: Size. Our game is different because of our size, but other than that I think we’re pretty much alike. Everyone in our family is alike.
HF: Any particular similarities between you and Robyn?
RR: We love to shoot the puck, we both love to shoot the puck and we love to hit guys out there.
HF: How is playing for Ryan McGill different than Darryl Sutter?
RR: I think they’re pretty much the same. They’re pretty much trying to install the same game plan so it’s easier for guys to go up when they are called up. They’re like anybody, they’re competitive guys and they demand a lot out of you. If you give them that, that’s all they can ask for. If the outcome isn’t what they want, that’s too bad sometimes.
HF: Did having them both play the same aggressive forechecking defensive style help your transition?
RR: I think so. Same game plan, defense first, don’t give up many goals, and try to keep the puck out of our net first.
HF: Growing up, what was your favorite team and who were some of your favorite players?
RR: Pittsburgh, Mario Lemieux, Jagr, I think like anybody. I think I just like the winning teams every year and they won the first two years I paid attention. So, I like Mario for sure.
HF: Any particular defensemen that you patterned your game after that you feel you’re comparable too?
RR: I’d like to pattern it after Paul Coffey, just guys who like to shoot the puck, smaller d-men but don’t back off from the physical aspect.
HF: I see from your bio you were born in Indonesia?
HF: What’s the story behind that?
RR: My parents were missionaries. They had a tour of duty in Brazil, where my older two brothers were born, and they moved back to Rosthern. They had another tour, they went to Indonesia, I was born there, and I was there until about 2 1/2 and then moved back to Rosthern.
HF: Did you start playing hockey then immediately thereafter?
RR: Yeah, I think it was around 3 or 3 1/2 that I started skating. Right way my grandma said that I loved to skate and loved to swim. They said as soon as I was born they threw me in the water and I just swam.
HF: Lastly, what are your goals for the rest of the season?
RR: I think become a better player, and through that our team making the playoffs and seeing what we can do. We’re not the goal scoring team, so I think playoffs will suit us fine. We’ve got to bear down.
Copyright 2006 Hockey’s Future. Do not reprint or otherwise duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.