It’s not quite Sedinery, but it’s close.
Before every WHL game, either home or away, Sam Reinhart and Jaedon Descheneau can be seen skating in an oval between the red and blue lines, passing a puck back and forth during the warmup.
Observers can count on watching saucer feeds, no-look passes behind the back and sharp, crisp bullets from opposite ends of the sideboards.
And always tape to tape.
It’s a ritual that started last year in the preseason when the two players needed something to do to keep them busy during a pre-game warmup.
“There was a lot of standing around time if you’re not skating around doing something with a partner, so we just decided to start passing with each other,” said Reinhart.
“We were both standing there, had nothing to do, so we just started passing the puck and now we’ve done it for the last two years and I guess we’ll continue on,” added Descheneau.
They’ve managed to get paired together on the first line this season, which has reaped huge rewards for them individually and for the team.
“I think they see the game very similar,” said Ice head coach Ryan McGill. “They like to play at a high pace. They read really well off each other in give-and-go situations and I think that’s why they have so much chemistry right now and obviously, we’d like them to keep it.”
“Part of their chemistry is their work ethic. They work extremely hard together and they like to play fast.”
That chemistry has turned up some impressive numbers for both lately, as the two are riding a ten-game point streak—Reinhart with 17, while Descheneau has 15.
Reinhart, 17, burst onto the WHL scene for his first full season last year, setting a Kootenay Ice franchise record for points in a rookie campaign, with 62.
Descheneau, also 17, tallied 14 points over 54 games last year, but has been much more prolific this season, exceeding his rookie point total over the last ten games.
Look at the scoresheets over the last dozen games, and you’ll find Descheneau’s name among the assists when Reinhart scores, and vice versa.
“We definitely find each other nicely on the ice,” said Reinhart. “We definitely know where each other is going, so it’s nice and when the team is playing this good all around, it makes it easier on individuals as well.”
“It’s easy to play with him,” said Descheneau, in regard to Reinhart. “He knows how to get to open spaces and all that stuff, he goes to the net, he’s good in the corners, he’s good at passing the puck and everything.”
Descheneau started the season on the second line playing alongside Luke Philp, while Reinhart, Brock Montgomery and Erik Benoit led the attack as the first line.
However, McGill decided to change things up.
“Jaedon’s a smart player and I thought the way Jaedon meshed a little with Luke Philp—I thought he could do the same thing with Sam,” McGill said.
“I thought also that Monty [Montgomery] would be a good fit for Philp, so it was a good switch for both of them and it’s been very good for both players.”
The individual success is also translating into team success, as the Ice have won nine games over their ten-game point streak, and are now within reach of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Though the two have been on an offensive tear in the stats department, Reinhart is quick to spread the credit around the rest of the team for their recent success.
“Everyone’s playing to the best of their ability right now and it’s really showing on the scoreboard, so it’s really a team effort that’s enabled us to do so well,” Reinhart said.