ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF)–We’ll finally get out first look in-person at the IceHogs on Saturday night. They’ll play their first home game against the Grand Rapids Griffins. One player to keep your eye on this season is Lukas Reichel.
Reichel was the Blackhawks’ first round draft pick in 2020, a forward from Germany. Last season his team won the championship in Germany’s top league. He also played on Germany’s gold medal team at the 2019 U-18 World Championships. He’s been impressive through the IceHogs first six games. He leads the team with five points.
“He’s a skilled player,” said IceHogs’ head coach Derrick King. “He’s going to play in the NHL. He’s probably going to have a nice, long career.”
Reichel is only 19 years old. He was impressive at the Prospect Showcase in September. Then he got to participate in the Blackhawks’ training camp. Both of those were confidence-builders for Reichel.
“It was a good experience for me practicing with Chicago and like, practicing with the big boys like Kane, Toews. I just like, want to learn from these guys, from the veterans, the older guys that have experience.”
Reichel has adjusted well going from the larger rinks in Europe to the smaller ones here. He’s a fast learner and a willing learner.
“It’s my first year, so I’m still learning, but like I said from game to game it’s getting better.”
“He has been unbelievable so far, and he’s been really good,” said IceHogs’ forward Alex Nylander. “He’s a great guy. I’ve been playing with him, and he’s just going to get better and better as each game goes by.”
Reichel comes from a hockey family. His dad Martin is in the Germany Hockey Hall of Fame, and his uncle Robert Reichel played 830 games in the NHL, and he won a gold medal with the Czech Republic at the 1998 Winter Olympics. They’re his biggest fans, even from long distance in Germany.
“We talk a lot like, after the game I call my dad. Before the game I call my dad,” said Reichel. “He’s like watching my game even at 3 a.m. in Germany. Like, it’s all about hockey in our family.”
Reichel says he has no trouble being patient waiting for a shot with the Blackhawks. At the rate he’s going, he might not have to be patient very long.