Ryan McGill will have some familiar faces join him for the Subway Super Series.
The Kootenay Ice head coach, who is assisting Rebels bench boss Brent Sutter for the WHL portion of the event, will get to work with Sam Reinhart and Jaedon Descheneau, who were named to the roster on Monday.
It’s Reinhart’s second appearance on the team, as he suited up against a team of Russian junior stars last year, scoring the winner in a shootout in front of a hometown crowd in Vancouver last year.
Though familiar territory for the Kootenay Ice captain, it’s a new experience for Descheneau, who is ripping it up this season with a team-leading 13 goals and 25 points in 17 games.
The 18-year-old sniper had no idea he was in consideration to earn a spot on the team.
“It’s an honour to represent Team WHL and play against the Russians with a bunch of good players,” said Descheneau.
The two snipers have been paired up for most of last year and into this season, forming Kootenay’s deadliest scoring duo.
Of Kootenay’s 203 goals scored last regular season, Reinhart and Descheneau tallied 65, good for 32 percent of the team’s production. It is even higher this year, as they’ve contributed 43 percent of the team’s offence.
Though there has been a lot of buzz around Reinhart since he entered the WHL two years ago, Descheneau has developed into the league’s most dangerous scorers.
“It’s been a substantial improvement from his first year here,” said Reinhart. “Really excited for him to have this opportunity and it’s really nice to have him come with me for this event. Hopefully we’ll be playing together, but we’ll see.
“He really deserves this and I’m really excited for him.”
As a 17-year-old last year on Team WHL, Reinhart wanted to let his play do the talking and put his name out to the Hockey Canada brass that he was aiming for the World Juniors.
This year, he has his sights set on wearing the red and white in Sweden.
“Last year I definitely wanted to get my name in there for the selection and thought I played a good game. I was happy with how things went there,” said Reinhart.
“This year, definitely trying to contribute a bit more, definitely I’m trying to push a little more than last year.”
The two Ice players are joined by other WHL talent such as Morgan Klimchuk (Regina) Curtis Lazar (Edmonton), Hunter Shinkaruk (Medicine Hat) and Josh Morrissey (Prince Albert) — all of whom were first round picks in the 2013 NHL Draft and all will be looking to impress McGill and Sutter for a spot on Team Canada.
“It’s one of the times that a chunk of the guys are together and can show off what they have,” added Reinhart. “It’s nice having Gilly as my coach, so he can see me playing, obviously Brent in the division—those are big games against Red Deer—but this is just another stepping stone that I want to be on the World Junior team, so looking forward to it and playing my best.”
Reinhart’s older brother Griffin, who patrols the blue line for the Edmonton Oil Kings as team captain, was also named to the team.
“Every time I get a chance to play with him rather than against him it’s definitely an nice feeling,” said the Kootenay captain.