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Bernard-Docker, Tychonick hope to stay together with Senators

Ottawa defensemen prospects have played on same pair since age 10

by Callum Fraser / Correspondent

OTTAWA -- Jacob Bernard-Docker and Jonathan Tychonick appear destined to be defense partners for life.

Selected by the Ottawa Senators with the Nos. 26 and 48 picksin the 2018 NHL Draft, Bernard-Docker and Tychonick first played alongside each other at age 10 in minor hockey. They also roomed together and won gold medals playing for Canada West at the 2017 World Junior A Challenge.

When asked to do a joint interview at Senators development camp, which ended July 2, they jokingly agreed, "We need a break."

The old saying "opposites attract" couldn't be more accurate to describe the two 18-year-olds.

Bernard-Docker, a native of Canmore, Alberta, is a strong defender with a hard slap shot. He had 41 points (20 goals, 21 assists) in 49 games last season with Okotoks of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. Tychonick, a native of Calgary, is a speedy, puck-moving defenseman who loves to jump into the play. He had 47 points (nine goals, 38 assists) in 48 games last season with Penticton of the British Columbia Hockey League.

Bernard-Docker is prone to short answers during media sessions; Tychonick loves the spotlight and thrives under it.

Video: Senators draft D Jacob Bernard-Docker No. 26

"If you were to ask [Bernard-Docker], he may say maybe he wants a vacation," Tychonick said, "because I just talk a lot and he's sitting there doing his own thing.

"I think it's good that we're different personalities, because if we were both like me or both like him, who knows how it would be? I think it translates on the ice as well."

On Oct. 6, each will get his first taste of NCAA play with the University of North Dakota.

Obviously they hope to partner up.

"It's hard for two freshmen to play together at such a high level," Tychonick said. "But if the coaches make the decision, I think we'll flourish, just because of our playing styles and how we click."

The Senators prospects are looking to take full advantage of North Dakota's top-end amenities, such as a 24-hour gym, napping rooms and a full-time chef.

"The rink ... it's home," Tychonick said. "I'll be spending every day in that place. You literally have to experience just one day and you'll be like, 'This is unbelievable.' "

North Dakota has developed many alumni into NHL players, including Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews, Washington Capitals forward T.J. Oshie and Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise; another former Fighting Hawk, defenseman Christian Wolanin, had a goal and two assists in 10 games with the Senators last season.

"I talked a bit to Christian," Bernard-Docker said. "We watched him over the last year and to see him develop into the player that he is now is pretty crazy. Definitely a role model."

For Bernard-Docker, getting ready for training camp in September means upping his aggression.

"It's my physical play. I need to be a bit harder on guys," he said. "The room for improvement is endless here, and I'm just trying to take as much as I can and learn as much as I can." 

For Tychonick, it's all about strength and conditioning.

"It's my left leg; my left hamstring, my left glute," he said. "It's a little bit tighter. It's about loosening that, doing quick feet drills. At the combine, people want to do leg muscles and think that they'll get faster, and yeah, they'll get faster, but stride length is what's going to increase speed.

"I always train hard. But right now it's about training right and hard."

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