New York Rangers | The colossus Matt Rempe wants to be “the one who will defend his teammates”

Matt Rempe walked the streets of New York last week.

A car stopped near the giant New York Rangers.

The driver rolled down his window. ” What is going on ? », asked the recruit. Then the singing began.

“They said: ‘Stop! Stop!” “, he confided, with a smile on his lips. “And I said, ‘Hey!’ It was pretty cool. »

The six-foot-seven forward has been attracting attention as of late. Rempe has had plenty of moments like these in eight career NHL games – mostly because of his prowess with his fists.

The hockey player from Calgary dropped the gloves in his first appearance on the ice against New York Islanders tough guy Matt Martin. He also danced with the colossi Nicolas Deslauriers, of the Philadelphia Flyers, and Mathieu Olivier, of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

His face, already difficult to recognize due to the numerous bruises and scratches attributable to the numerous punches he took, was once again put to the test against Toronto Maple Leafs strongman Ryan Reaves at center ice. last weekend.

“You can’t make it up,” said Matt O’Dette, Rempe’s coach with the Seattle Thunderbirds in the Western Junior Hockey League, about his former player’s rise. It’s worthy of a movie. »

And the Big Apple has a new hero.

The 21-year-old posed in a restaurant with two black eyes, was affectionately nicknamed the “Rempire State Building” by the team’s fans, and heard his name chanted by the crowd at Madison Square Garden.

“Unbelievable,” admitted Rempe, who weighs 240 pounds and has a very long reach. I have a lot of fun living my dream. »

Rempe, who was the 165e pick in the 2020 NHL draft, also wants to demonstrate that he knows how to play hockey.

“I can do a lot of things,” assured Rempe, who scored a goal and collected an assist, in addition to receiving 39 penalty minutes, in eight games in the Bettman circuit. However, I want to be the one who defends his teammates. »

That’s exactly what he did during his first 24 periods of NHL play.

“It’s not an easy task,” said Rangers defenseman K’Andre Miller. He did a good job. »

However, it was not always so simple.

Rempe, who began his NHL career on the sixth anniversary of his father’s death, never forgot where he came from.

“He texted all the staff thanking us,” O’Dette said. He put in the effort, but to have managed to make his dream come true… he’s a special kid. »

Rempe, in the meantime, has not forgotten his loved ones in Calgary.

“My mom told me, ‘Your pediatrician called when you were little,’” Rempe said. He called my mother’s house and told her how proud he was of me. »

A lot has changed in three weeks for Rempe.

And he savors the present moment – ​​as well as his new notoriety among people on the street – in the city that never sleeps.

“The media attention is different,” he admitted. I just go home and read books.

“It’s been really cool, but I want to keep my feet on the ground,” he concluded.


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