There’s an old saying that goes “once a Texan, always a Texan.” And for San Antonio Rampage right-winger Jon Rheault, his roots are hard to forget.
Though Rheault, 26, only spent three years of his life in Arlington, Texas he has always felt a bit of a connection with the Lone Star State.
It’s a connection he’s happy to feel again, as he is back in Texas trying to earn a spot in the Rampage lineup. The winger has considerable AHL experience, playing in 195 career games, most recently with the Abbotsford Heat where he scored 33 points (16 goals, 17 assists) in 47 games last season.
“Johnny plays with a lot of speed,” Rampage head coach Chuck Weber said. “He plays the game with his head up and his hockey IQ is up there. You can see how he processes the game and he does it quickly.”
Rheault took some time after day three of training camp to answer some questions for sarampage.com.
How was the summer?
It’s been a great summer. I spent a lot of it back east in Burlington, Vermont and spent a lot of time with my family and keeping up with friends that you don’t get to see all that often. It was a great and productive summer.
You’re originally from Texas, right?
Yeah, I was originally born in Arlington. Unfortunately I only lived there until I was three but I’ve always felt a little bit of a connection to Texas. It is neat though to finally be able to get a chance to live and play here during the season.
Do you know some people in town?
No, I don’t know a lot of people yet. My Dad was working here and my sister and I were both born in Texas. I don’t really remember much, but I still feel like I have a connection. It’s just cool to be here.
How are you feeling coming into camp?
There’s always that little bit of anxiety no matter how much work you do over the summer and getting the first day out of the way. I feel very good about camp so far. I feel in shape and stronger. It’s always different, though, compared to working out in the summer. Once you get into practice it’s different and you have to adjust a little there and just work the kinks out.
How’s the chemistry in the team been coming along?
It’s been good, we have a four man green-unit (practice line) right now and I feel like we’ve been doing pretty well. You get a little extra rest with that fourth guy, but I’ve been feeling good with those guys. They’re great players and it’s been fun to play with them.
Anything specific you worked on over the summer?
I’m always working on my shot, getting a quicker release and changing my points of release as well as one-timers. Off the ice I was just working on getting stronger and more explosive. I changed up my program a little this summer. For the last month (before camp) it was all low reps and heavy weight to work on getting that explosiveness. I’m feeling it now. I’m a lot quicker.