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San Jose Sharks goalie James Reimer off to impressive start as he follows Christ

Goalie James Reimer returned for a second stint with the San Jose Sharks this offseason knowing his role would likely be a limited one.

The team acquired fellow netminder Adin Hill from the Arizona Coyotes days before Reimer signed his two-year deal. As expected, Hill has been San Jose’s primary goalie, starting five of the team’s first eight games.

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The other three starts went to Reimer, who is playing as well as any goalie in the NHL so far this season. He leads the league with a 1.13 goals against average and a .964 save percentage.

Reimer made 34 saves in the Sharks’ 2-1 overtime victory against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday, a game that came with head coach Bob Boughner and seven players unavailable due to COVID-19 protocols. The win snapped a three-game losing streak.

Now in his 12th NHL season, Reimer has appeared in 389 career games with a 2.83 goals against average and a .914 save percentage. Drafted in the fourth round by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2006, Reimer made his NHL debut during the 2010-11 season and started 188 games for the Leafs before being traded to the Sharks at the trade deadline in 2016. He signed with the Florida Panthers the following offseason and was traded again β€” this time to Carolina β€” prior to the 2019-20 season.

It’s been a solid career for Reimer, who grew up in Morweena, Manitoba, and did not start playing organized hockey until he was 12.

“Hockey was never a big deal,” he said in a 2018 interview with Hockey Ministries International. “I mean, you had family, and you went to church, and you went to school, and you worked a regular job or whatever. Those were kind of the important things and hockey was never really too much of an option. It’s a very different beginning than most kids, I’d say.”

The 33-year-old credits his parents with making Christ part of his life from the beginning and teaching him the importance of prioritizing his faith.

β€œI think it all starts with a good foundation,” Reimer told Impactus in 2018. β€œFor me, the foundation begins with my faith and my belief in Christ β€” what He did for us. I can stand on that foundation, and life kind of flows from there. Luckily for me, my parents did a great job of instilling that.”

The challenges Reimer’s experienced along his journey have drawn him closer to Christ and reminded him to keep leaning on his faith.

“There’s times throughout my career … where it’s just like, you know what? You can’t control it,” he said in the interview with HMI. “And so it’s just back to kind of basics … the basics of Christianity. Just trusting Jesus and seeing what’s going to happen and kind of being OK with whatever result comes.”

No matter what is happening on the ice, Reimer knows who is ultimately in control. He plays with a sense of freedom in net as a result.

“It’s a big reason why I’m calm out there,” he said in 2011. “I mean, I don’t have any fear of what’s going to happen. The way I see it, or tell myself, if I let in zero or six [goals], it’s His call up there. It’s whatever He wants in my life. It helps to calm it down and put everything in perspective.”

The 5-3 Sharks are back in action Tuesday when they host the Buffalo Sabres at 10:30 p.m. ET.

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