When Jared McCann was playing junior hockey with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, they had an equipment rep who also serviced the Sarnia Sting. That's where Alex Galchenyuk had played, so the equipment rep always carried around some of his sticks.
"I was like, 'oh, I want to try one of these out,'" McCann said. "So I went out there and I scored a hat trick. I was like 'Well, I can't change back now, here we go.'"
McCann ended up using Galchenyuk's sticks for about a year, both with Sault Ste. Marie and the Canadian national junior team. They were all emblazoned with Galchenyuk's nickname, "Chucky," and number, 27.
"When I played at the World Junior Championship when I was younger it said Chucky 27 on my stick, so everybody started calling me Chucky," McCann recalled. "I was like 'Guys, this isn't my stick (laughs).'"
While Galchenyuk used CCM at the time, McCann always used Bauer, so he eventually had his own sticks made using Galchenyuk's curve (though he's since tweaked them, saying that his blades have more "toe"). But he still has one of Galchenyuk's original sticks at home.
"I told him about that, actually, when I first got here," McCann said. "It's pretty cool."
With that history, it's no surprise that McCann clicked right away with Galchenyuk in Saturday's 7-2 win over Columbus. Galchenyuk set McCann up with two pretty passes that he converted for a pair of goals.
"We had some good chemistry," McCann said.
Hopefully, they can keep it going. But if he ever needs a spark, McCann said he might have to try one of Galchenyuk's current sticks, just like Evgeni Malkin did.
"Maybe I'll have to pull a 'Geno' and use one of his sticks," McCann joked.