Brothers Rheydan and Donovan McCoy were both born in 2004. Rheydan’s birthday is in January while Donovan’s is in November.
The siblings were in the same grade growing up, but not often in the same class.
“I was a stubborn kid,” Donovan says with a smirk. “I would always try to make him do my homework. We ended up getting split up in different classes.”
“The teachers would end up finding out,” adds Rheydan. “They’re like, ‘your assignments look too similar. The only thing that’s different is your name.’ The last time we got caught was in Grade 9 geography.”
The brothers from Belleville went from sharing their homework to sharing the ice at Peterborough Petes training camp this week.
Donovan was drafted by the Petes in first round, 15th overall in the 2020 OHL Priority Selection. The 17-year-old played the 2021-2022 season with the Maroon and White.
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Rheydan, 18, was invited to the Petes development camp, and then training camp, as a free agent after a strong season with the Jr. C Nappanee Raiders.
Both brothers are defensemen. Donovan is a right-handed shot while Rheydan is a lefty.
“A lot of kids dream of playing in the OHL and I got to do that last year,” said the younger McCoy. “My brother and I grew up watching the Bellville Bulls (now the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs) back at home, so we’ve always both looked up to playing here. Now he’s able to join me here. It’s a dream come true for both of us … Not many people get to be at an OHL training camp with their brother, so it’s really cool and I’m enjoying it a lot.”
This isn’t the first time the brothers have played alongside each other. Donovan and Rheydan were teammates on the AAA Quinte Red Devils until Rheydan was cut in his Minor Bantam year.
“From there, I started take a slope down where I kind of didn’t know what I wanted to do, if I wanted to keep playing or not,” said the elder McCoy. “Because growing up, playing at such a high level on such a successful team, to kind of just not being on there anymore, it was kind of hard on me.”
That year in Minor Bantam, body checking was introduced in minor hockey. Rheydan says going to Red Devils games after he was cut and watching his brother play was difficult at times.
“I still enjoyed it so much to watch him get drafted and see how successful his route has been, and now being so close on his path has just given me so much more motivation to keep driving to get there.”
In his rookie year with the Maroon and White, Donovan had 16 assists in 61 regular season games. He scored his first OHL goal in his playoff debut.
He’s been trying to offer some advice to his older brother throughout training camp.
“I’m just letting him play,” says Donovan. “A few things I’ll notice on the bench, just plays we were taught last year from the coaching staff. I’ll give him a tip or two just to help him along the way. I know he’s trying to make the team and crack a spot, so I’m just trying to give him as much as an advantage as he can.”
The McCoys even made up a defensive pairing during Thursday’s scrimmages.
“We played together when we were younger,” says Donovan. “We always did really well together. You can see the chemistry we both have with each other still.”
Training camp was also an opportunity for Norman McCoy to see his sons play together once again.
“Watching them play out here is awesome,” Norman says with a big smile on his face. “I was nervous when I got here, but once they hit the ice for the first shift, it was like watching them all over again. It was an enjoyable experience for sure.”
Rheydan has since been reassigned by the Peterborough Petes.