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Golden Knights’ Ryan Reaves eager to get physical again

With hockey on hiatus, Ryan Reaves has spent some of his free time creating messages for fans on the web service Cameo.

The Golden Knights forward said a recent theme has emerged in his videos.

“I’ve caught myself recently saying, ‘I’m getting the itch to put my fist through somebody’s face or lay somebody out through the boards,’” Reaves said Tuesday on a Zoom call with Las Vegas media. “I don’t know what it is.”

Reaves, similar to what teammate Mark Stone expressed Thursday, seems ready to get back on the ice now that the NHL is allowing small-group workouts at team facilities. The brawler has even more reason to be excited after signing a two-year extension worth $1.75 million annually Monday.

“I don’t think it’s a secret that I love it here and I wanted to stay,” said Reaves, who built a home in Las Vegas and might stay after his hockey career is done. “This is the No. 1 place I want to be. I don’t want to leave. So I was happy that the conversations were starting, and I’m happy that we got something done that works for both sides.”

Reaves, 33, has stayed in Las Vegas — where his brewing company is based — since the COVID-19 pandemic paused the season. He spends his days mostly playing with his son, Kane, 4, and daughter, Kamilla, 1.

They’ve gone swimming in their pool, driven remote-controlled cars and exercised in their garage.

“(My son) pretends works out with me,” Reaves said. “He picks up a 5-pound weight, he thinks he’s getting big muscles like his daddy.”

Reaves has spent a little more time away from home since Phase Two of the NHL’s return-to-play plan began June 8. He said the small-group workouts have been “kind of weird,” just because they’re not what he’s used to.

Reaves is accustomed to having the entire roster at the facility and having players share hot tubs or bust each other’s chops in the training room.

Now players, who arrive in groups no greater than six, dress in separate locker rooms to prevent any possible spread of the coronavirus. They also get tested twice a week, wear masks when walking in and have their temperatures checked at the door.

“I feel a little too safe,” Reaves said. “Our training staff has done an unbelievable job making sure that everything’s sanitary and that we’re not too close to each other.”

Reaves is excited for the entire team to get back together for training camp, but his focus has been off the ice recently, too. The winger has expressed interest in helping the Hockey Diversity Alliance, a newly formed group co-founded by San Jose Sharks player Evander Kane and former NHL player Akim Aliu.

Reaves, who is biracial, said he thinks hockey needs broader representation to grow the sport.

“It’s fine if you’re a white guy, white athlete, white hockey player and you walk into these communities, and you go play ball hockey with a bunch of black kids,” Reaves said. “But those kids want to see people that look more like them. …

“That brings them a little bit closer to the sport. Those are the things that the NHL and individual teams, individual franchises need to do to bring different cultures into the sport.”

Contact Ben Gotz at bgotz@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BenSGotz on Twitter.

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