Like any brothers do, Connor, Ryan and Mike Reilly fight once in while. They say it’s only because they are competitive.
They are close friends. Mike, being the youngest, has taken his share of abuse from older twins Connor and Ryan.
“When we were really young, we taped him up to a chair and started (to pretend) typewriting on him and just doing other funny stuff to him,” said Ryan, who is five minutes younger than Connor.
There have been many fun times together, too. From the backyard ponds, to breaking records with the Penticton Vees.
Growing up a half hour from Chicago in a suburb called Glenview, the public rink was their home away from home. Their father, Mike, selected 140th overall by the Montreal Canadiens in 1977, introduced them to hockey and they fell in love. If it wasn’t on the frozen ponds,
“We have always loved playing pond hockey and even road hockey,” said Connor. “When it’s spring, summer or fall, you can always see us on our blades.”
It wasn’t often that it involved hard hitting. Mike Jr. insists it was just a lot of stickhandling.
“Try to work your hands and get your vision better,” said Mike, who was drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the fourth round, 98th overall in 2011.
So who is the better of the three?
“I still might say Mikey,” said Ryan, who will play with his brothers at the University of Minnesota next fall. “He’s got some of the best skill I’ve seen. And he’s really smart. He’s got good hands and is a good player.”
Mike went with Connor.
“He was always the big dog,” said Mike. “He was the taller out of us three. He had pretty good hands and grinded. Ryan is maybe a little faster, but Connor had a little bit more size than Ryan. Ryan is good too, he’s really fast.”
Of the three, Mike has displayed an impressive ability to hammer slapshots past goalies.
Connor doesn’t have a clue where that come from.
“I was talking to one of my good friends, (who is) my age playing college hockey,” explained Connor. “He saw Mike scoring a bunch of goals and is like ‘When did Mike get a hard shot?’”
Joking about Mike’s size and strength, he told his friend he had no idea.
“I guess it’s just coming off my stick well,” said Mike.
Ryan’s solution to the mystery has to do with Mike getting taller (six-feet).
“He’s got this long stick and he just whips it back,” said Ryan.
Mike reveals that he shot a lot of pucks during the summer.
“I definitely wanted to try to improve every aspect of my game,” he said. “Here, I’m working after practice shooting pucks.”
While the three have only played on the same teams on a couple of occasions, they are enjoying this season.
On Feb. 2 however, the Reillys and the Vees received bad news. Connor ended up playing his last game of the season Feb. 26, when it was discovered that swelling in his knee was a degenerative problem requiring surgery. It was devastating news, said Ryan, who initially thought it was something small.
“His knee was a little swollen,” said Ryan. “I thought maybe it was going to be a week or two. Then we found out it was a couple months. It’s tough for him but he has a positive attitude. He is going to rehab it really hard. Hopefully next year he will be ready to play.”
It has been an unbelievable season for the trio.
“The higher you get up each level the harder it’s going to be play with each other,” said Connor, prior to learning about his knee. “To play junior A together has been pretty unreal. Last year Ryan and I played junior A together, but to have all three of us together has been pretty surreal.”
Mike could have stayed and played at Shattuck St. Mary’s, but wanted to join his brothers. Mike enjoys being around his brothers. As for the streak the Vees have been on, they say it’s been exciting and incredible.
“The game against Chilliwack to tie it was unbelievable too. It’s fun to be part of.”