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A down-to-earth teenager conquers the hockey world

(Kloten, SUI) -- A visit to Kloten shooting star David Reinbacher (18) and his blended family.

His father Harald has moved from Austria to Kloten for David Reinbacher to support the teenager in his hockey dream. Three years later, the talented defender is attracting scouts from many NHL clubs. But the 18-year-old keeps both feet on the ground.

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Nicole Vandenbrouck (text) and Sven Thomann (photos)

Blick Article Text: Two number balloons decorate the living room, a "Happy Birthday" lettering is still hanging. The day before Sunday's Blick visit, David Reinbacher celebrated his 18th birthday. The teenager comes out of the upper floor of the duplex apartment in Lufingen ZH and pulls off the headphones. The defender of EHC Kloten likes to listen to music in his little free time besides hockey, school and internship. Or he reads a good book, currently for the second time "The Path of the Peaceful Warrior". "I was able to take a lot with me from that," he says and sits down at the dining table. This is where the family comes together, a lively blended family.

But from the front. David Reinbacher is Austrian. Like his brother Tobias, who is two years older than him, he plays hockey. Because Tobias tried his hand at Kloten's offspring in 2017, David also wanted that in 2018 when he was 14 at the time. "But I was homesick," he admits. For father Harald Reinbacher (50) one thing is clear: he commutes daily from Lustenau to Kloten and back again. David did his homework in the car." Departure at 4pm, return home at midnight. "It was a challenging time," says the father. Nonetheless, it comes naturally to him. "I promised him that I would support him if he really wanted it." The engineer for special machine construction even moves from Lustenau to Kloten for his son in 2019.

Because David wants. When asked about his childhood dream, he doesn't answer with the NHL like most hockey boys do. “My dream has always been to be able to turn my hobby into a job. I just wanted to be able to make a living from hockey. The rest would be a bonus." Then everything goes very quickly. Jeff Tomlinson (52, Ka) took over as coach in Kloten last season and placed a lot of trust in the talented defender right from the start.

When he made his Swiss League debut in September 2021, Reinbacher was just 16 years old. He experienced the SL championship title and promotion to the National League. And is also a defender in the upper house that the coach relies on. "I got lucky with Jeff," says David, "I owe him and the club so much. I never would have thought that sometimes I would play for almost 20 minutes."

And suddenly it's all about hockey. "A little recognition is nice, but as soon as strangers say hello," he says with a shrug. In the beginning, the family struggled a bit with the hype and the pressure, says Papa Harald.

8 teenagers in the National League

  • David Reinbacher (V, Kloten, 25.10.04)

  • Mattheo Reinhard (S, Biel, 26.6.04)

  • Livio Curdin Truog (S, ZSC Lions, 11/30/03)

  • Nicolas Perrenoud (S, Lausanne, 30.11.03)

  • Nicolas Baechler (S, ZSC Lions, 08/23/03)

  • Dario Sidler (F, Lausanne, 4.6.03)

  • Luca Deussen (V, Kloten, 24.5.03)

  • Mats Alge (S, SCRJ Lakers, 4/19/03

Meanwhile, coffee and birthday cake are on the table, which Norina (10) devours. She is the daughter of Harald Reinbacher's partner Mengia (42). After separating from David's mother, he found his new happiness in love in Kloten. There are five of them – Norina also has a little brother, Liun (6) – they live together.

"We made an agreement," says Harald Reinbacher, "we don't talk about ice hockey in the apartment. Unless David starts it." Mengia Rageth runs the household, "she's the boss," laughs David. "He also helps when you ask him to, he prepares the best omelettes," she says. The junior international does his own laundry.

Tears at the first NL hit

How else do his father and his girlfriend describe the teenager? "He combines will, ambition and at the same time calmness," says Papa Harald, "he sets himself goals that are not easy to achieve. And on the way there, his self-analysis is his strength." Mengia Rageth emphasizes David's warmth. They are always present at his games. The "chauffeur" has become a spectator. "We're sitting in the stands and enjoying it," says Harald Reinbacher, who shed a tear of joy when David scored his first NL goal. "I'm so grateful to him," emphasizes David, "I'm aware of what he did for me."

The rise of the 1.89 m tall rookie continues. With his consistent performances, he now attracts countless NHL scouts who eagerly take notes on Kloten games. “I can hide that well. I don't think too much, I live in the moment." Next week the teenager will make his debut in Austria's A-Nati at the Germany Cup. "I can hardly believe it, I just enjoy every day," says David, cutting off a piece of the birthday cake.


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