NASHVILLE -- Luke Schenn wasn't necessarily expecting the text message, but the Nashville Predators defenseman wasn't surprised when it popped up on his phone right before the regular season ended.

It was from one of his oldest friends, Vancouver Canucks defenseman Tyler Myers.

"It was just before their last game, vs. Winnipeg, when we found out we were playing each other," Schenn said. "He just said, 'Hey, best of luck in the series and we'll touch base after the series and give each other a big hug when it's all said and done.'"

It will be a bittersweet moment for each of them in that handshake line, which could come as soon as Game 5 of the Western Conference First Round between the Canucks and Predators at Rogers Arena on Tuesday (10 p.m. ET; TVAS, SNE, SNO, SNP, BSSO, TBS, MAX). Vancouver rallied late in the third period and defeated Nashville 4-3 in overtime in Game 4 on Sunday to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 series.

"We've become good friends here throughout our careers," Myers said. "It's always weird facing him, but we both know what's at stake this time of year and we're kind of putting that aside for now."

Schenn and Myers have a friendship that dates to 2006, when they were 16-year-olds living in the same billet home while playing for Kelowna of the Western Hockey League.

Schenn, three months older, was nearing the end of his first full WHL season in 2005-06 when Myers was called up to Kelowna in February of '06 following the end of his bantam season with the Notre Dame Hounds.

"As a player I couldn't believe how good of a skater he was," Schenn said of Myers. I heard about this big, tall defenseman coming in, and a high draft pick. ... Just remember how good of a skater he was. Obviously, he had some edge to him, and physicality, and had some offensive ability too.

"As a guy, super quiet. He was quiet and shy and didn't say a heck of a lot. I think he was just maybe a little nervous coming to an older group, being away from home and stuff like that, but you could tell just like a really, nice soft-spoken guy."


The friendship blossomed despite them having opposite personalities. Schenn, then like now, is more of an outgoing natural leader, while Myers is more soft-spoken and would rather let his play do his talking for him.

"I don't know of any team that [Schenn] has been on where his teammates don't relish him and are probably very disappointed when he moves on," said Bruce Hamilton, owner and general manager of Kelowna since the franchise was founded in 1991. "So that's the kind of guy he is.

"Tyler's a reserved guy to start with. ... A Tyler Myers story that sticks with me is when he won the Calder Trophy. I went to Vegas for that, and he thanked the Kelowna Rockets, which meant so much to me. Usually, these guys get into the next world, and they forget about that. Tyler Myers never forgot where he came from. And that's why he's always been a very special part of our organization."

Schenn and Myers played three seasons together for Kelowna, nine games at the end of 2005-06, then all of 2006-07 and 2007-08.

At the 2008 NHL Draft, Schenn was selected by the Toronto Maple Leafs with the No. 5 pick and joined the NHL as an 18-year-old. Myers, chosen by the Buffalo Sabres with the No. 12 pick, played one more season with Kelowna before making his NHL debut at the start of the 2009-10 season.

Their NHL runs have taken them to far different places. Myers won the 2010 Calder Trophy voted as NHL rookie of the year and has 371 points (93 goals, 278 assists) in 995 regular-season games for the Sabres, Winnipeg Jets and Canucks.

"He came in, rookie of the year and had an unbelievable year," Schenn said. "A couple of ups and downs after that in Buffalo and gets traded, but for the most part I would say he's been a top-four defenseman pretty much throughout his whole career."

It's been a harder road for Schenn, who had to rebuild his game after being placed on waivers and assigned to the American Hockey League by the Anaheim Ducks in 2018-19. He bounced between the AHL and the NHL the next three seasons but became a significant contributor to the Tampa Bay Lightning winning the Stanley Cup in 2020 and 2021, playing postseason games each season. After two seasons with Myers in Vancouver and one with the Maple Leafs, he signed a three-year, $8.25 million contract ($2.75 million average annual value) with the Predators on July 1.

He has 198 points (43 goals, 155 assists) in 996 regular-season games for eight teams.

"He's had an unbelievable career," Myers said. "A couple of years there where he worked unbelievably hard to get back and really happy for him to where he's taken himself now. He deserves everything he's got."


Both are now 34 years old and married with three kids, but still find the time to stay in touch, either on the phone or in person when the craziness of an NHL season allows it.

"They had a day off here this year in Nashville, and [Myers] texted me in the morning saying, 'Hey, I'm going to pop by, where do you live?'" Schenn said. "And I told him and so he came by and he's like, 'I'll just pop by for an hour,' and this is at about 1 o'clock. My doorbell rang and it was him and [Canucks goalie Thatcher] Demko. He brought Demko along with him and didn't even tell me.

"It was supposed to be come by for an hour and a quick coffee and next thing you know, he was there till 9 p.m., we get dinner and he's playing mini sticks with my kids upstairs. We had a blast."

Hamilton maintains a bond with Schenn and Myers. He speaks with Schenn often during the season and calls Paul Myers, Tyler's father, one of the biggest advocates he has for prospective players who are considering playing for the Rockets.

He isn't rooting, only watching with pride at how far each has come since they were teenage housemates.

"They are two of what we have epitomized in former players," Hamilton said. "They grew up, they graduated, but they've never forgotten where they came from and they've always been quality, quality young men. And from my perspective running this team, it isn't based all on playing in the NHL.

"I want guys to be good people, good citizens and productive people in society. And these two guys are walking proof of that."