They were born two months apart in 1999 in the sprawling southwestern Ontario city of London. They are life long friends who grew up together in their hometown and played hockey together. And now they are teammates again, far from home, in the small northeastern Ontario town of Hearst.
Not only that, forwards Jake Desando and Max Griffioen are one and two on the scoring chart for the Hearst Lumberjacks of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.
Entering play this weekend, the 6-foot-3, 190-pound Desando leads Hearst in scoring with 20 goals, 28 assists, 48 points in 38 games.
And right behind Desando is the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Griffioen with 19 goals, 26 assists, 45 points in 39 games.
This is Desando’s first season in Hearst and the second for Griffioen. Desando signed with Hearst prior to the start of the 2018-2019 NOJHL season at the urging of his buddy, Griffioen, according to Lumberjacks coach and general manager Marc Lafleur.
“Max took the leap last year and after enjoying his experience with Hearst and noticing the learning, his friend Jake came and joined the Lumberjacks,” Lafleur relayed.
Hearst enters play in the NOJHL this weekend in fourth place in what is a hotly contested East Division. Through 39 games, the Lumberjacks have 45 points from a record of 20-14-5.
The Lumberjacks have a record of 7-2-1 in their last 10 starts and Lafleur, as the coach and general manager, is full of praise for the leadership role that both Desando and Griffioen have undertaken.
“Both have been stellar leaders to a team that is still young and learning the ways of the NOJHL,” Lafleur said of Desando and Griffioen.
Lafleur is of the notion that both Desando and Griffioen have a lot of hockey ahead of them.
“For sure, there many years of hockey left for those two if they keep committed to learning,” added Lafleur.