The Kootenay Ice will be represented by three players at the CHL Subway Super Series this year, led by forward Sam Reinhart, who in addition to being named to the team Monday afternoon, was named captain of the star-studded squad.
“It’s a huge honour. Anytime you can lead a team of that calibre, it’s a pretty exciting honour,” Reinhart said Wednesday afternoon. “If you look around at the roster, there’s not too many guys that aren’t in leadership roles on their own team, so it almost makes that job easier. With that being said, I have experience at that level with the Subway Series and I’m going to bring everything I can to help everyone else.”
Reinhart will be joined by forward Jaedon Descheneau, who was on the original Team WHL roster released Oct. 16. While the two Kootenay Ice teammates will skate together for Team WHL, they’ll have to keep their heads up for defenceman Rinat Valiev.
Wednesday afternoon, it was announced the Russian blueliner and Kootenay Ice stalwart will suit up for Team Russia.
“It means a lot for me,” Valiev said Wednesday afternoon. “I’m always proud to play for Team Russia at any level. I’m really happy.
“[Descheneau and Reinhart] are really good players. I’ll have to take care of those two guys.”
The light-hearted Russian added that, if given the chance to hit one of them, he would “destroy” Descheneau or Reinhart. Valiev was quick to clarify he was only joking, but said playing hard will still be a part of his game with Team Russia, just as it is with the Ice.
Reinhart could only laugh and said, “Go ahead,” when he heard of Valiev’s plans.
This marks the second appearance at the event for Descheneau and Valiev, while Reinhart makes his third trip to the Super Series.
“These players are very well deserving because they’re highly-skilled players,” said Kootenay Ice head coach Ryan McGill. “It has everything to do with their ability to play the game at a high level.”
Descheneau, a 2014 fifth-round pick (124th overall) of the St. Louis Blues, leads the Kootenay Ice in scoring with eight goals and 15 points in 15 games.
Valiev, a 2014 third-round pick (68th overall) of the Toronto Maple Leafs, is producing at a point-per-game pace with two goals and five points after missing the team’s first 12 games of the regular season due to a lower-body injury.
As for Reinhart, a 2014 first-round pick (second overall) of the Buffalo Sabres, he will play his first WHL game Friday night after being shipped back to major junior Oct. 31.
Reinhart, Descheneau and Team WHL will face-off with Valiev and Team Russia in Game 1 of the Subway Super Series on Nov. 10 at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon. Game 2 is slated for Nov. 11 at Keystone Centre in Brandon.
In addition to naming Reinhart as captain of Team WHL, it was also announced that defenceman Josh Morrissey (Prince Albert Raiders) and forward Nicolas Petan (Portland Winterhawks) serve as assistant captains for both games. Kelowna Rockets’ defenceman Madisow Bowey will also serve as an assistant captain for Game 1 in Saskatoon, while Victoria Royal’s blue-liner Joe Hicketts will wear an ‘A’ for Game 2 in Brandon.
Victoria Royals bench boss Dave Lowry will direct Team WHL with the help of assistant coach Kelly McCrimmon of the Brandon Wheat Kings.