|Brayden Schenn is currently second in the WHL's rookie scoring race with 15 goals and 34 points in 34 games.
“Upstaged” may be a little harsh, as older brother Luke is currently competing for Team Canada at the 2008 World Junior Championship and looks like a potential top selection at this summers’ NHL Entry Draft.
But it’s a good thing young Brayden plays a different position than Luke -- Brayden is a flashy offensive forward, Luke a defenseman -- because not even his older brother would be looking forward to competing with him on the stat sheets.
”He’s more of a goal scorer,” Luke said. “Actually he’s doing pretty well in the Western League right now. I guess he’s more of a two-way guy, and he’s probably a lot more skilled than I am. He’s got a lot more points, so he’s kind of leading me that way. It’s a good thing we play different roles.”
Brayden skates for the Western Hockey League’s Brandon Wheat Kings, while Luke skates for the Kelowna Rockets. The brothers, who play in separate conferences in the WHL, will only meet once in the regular season, Feb. 14.
Brayden looks like a player who will be able to follow in his brother’s footsteps and Luke is there to help him if he has any questions along the way. Their distance apart means that they can only keep track through phone calls and the Internet, but this they do on a daily basis.
”I’m going to catch up with him, maybe I’ll email him when I get back to the hotel and see how he did,” Luke said from Pardubice, Czech Republic after a Team Canada practice. “We keep in touch pretty much every day. I like to see how he’s doing. He’s watching all of our games out here, and the same goes when he’s in Brandon and I’m in Kelowna.”
In fact, their careers are progressing with some notable similarities, despite their different positions. Each skated for a WHL team as a 16-year-old (Luke has played his entire career with Kelowna), and each was a heralded young player competing for Canada in various international competitions.
Right now, the Schenns are away from their respective club teams competing for Canada -- Luke in the WJC and Brayden for Team West in the World U-17 Hockey Challenge in London, Ontario.
Both Luke and Brayden have made their presence felt for their respective national teams. Luke has played shut-down defense in helping Canada to a 2-1 start and Brayden recently had two points and the winning goal in his opening game against Team Germany and then two more in a follow-up win against Team Atlantic.
Older brother Luke also garnered high praise from Team Canada captain Karl Alzner for his play in both the Super Series and this tournament.
”Luke Schenn is my favorite player because I think he and I play most similar,” Alzner said. “We really like to play on the defensive side, be strong on our defensive coverage, so I really like the way he plays. And I think he’d be an asset on any team.”
Schenn was obviously pleased by the compliment.
”That means a lot coming from Karl,” he said. “I’ve played with him a lot and we’re pretty good friends, he’s a really good guy. He plays an old-style game and that’s the way I try to play anyway, just solid defensively. The guy’s a good player and he’s a high pick in the NHL, he’s a guy to look up to.”
What’s more, young Brayden continues to improve in his freshman WHL campaign. He recently saw an eight-game points streak broken in his final game before traveling to compete with the U-17 team. During his streak, he scored eight goals and 16 assists, vaulting him up the rookie and overall scoring lists.
He currently sits second for the rookie scoring lead in the WHL with 15 goals and 34 points in 34 games, second only to one of older brother Luke’s Kelowna Rockets teammates, Jamie Benn. Benn has 35 points. While Luke is obviously loyal to his Rockets, he doesn’t mind helping out the opposition, in the form of his younger brother, on occasion.
No collusion here, this is nothing more than old-fashioned brotherly love.
"I have two years on him in the Western League, and coming in he didn’t really know what to expect, so I told him what to expect,” Schenn said. “I try to keep him on his toes, telling him; 'You have to work hard every day. The Western League is a long schedule, you just have to keep getting better every day,' and I think he’s doing that so far.”
While he may not be quite eclipsing his brother’s star, Brayden is definitely giving the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Luke a run from his money.
And Luke knows that there is a little pressure from “little brother” Brayden, so it will be important to continue pushing for every inch, if only to make family reunions more tolerable.
And to keep “little brother” in line.