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The one about…Tanev in high school

Tests passed, lessons learned and friendships formed.

East York Collegiate Institute was where that all went down for Chris Tanev and his friends Steve and Lucas. During a lunch pit stop at Steve’s restaurant Off The Hook, a gourmet fish n’ chips joint in Toronto, Thursday afternoon, they spilled what beans they could about Tanev.

The trio met in Grade 11 or 12, they aren’t exactly sure, but the connection was there from the beginning. They’re as chill as Tanev, so just hanging out was the name of the game.

They’ve seen him change quite radically, both physically and mentally, in the last few years and like proud parents, they spoke of Tanev with the utmost pride – when they weren’t busting his chops.

“When we met, I was taller than him, his head was like at my shoulder,” laughed Steve, taking a break from behind the grill. “Then all of the sudden he filled in more.”

“He was a lot quieter back then too,” offered up Lucas, “now he’s opened up a lot more.”

HE HAS?

“Okay, a little more, not a lot.”

Added Steve: “There’s no inside scoop on him. He’s funny in a way where if all the guys are chirping louder and louder, he’ll quietly sneak in comments. But he’s the same guy, he just has little bit more responsibility…and he’s taller.”

“He plays like he is, he just goes to work, calm guy, all the time,” said Lucas.

The three amigos are part of an eight-man crew, a tight crew, that gets together a few times a week. They never talk hockey unless Tanev brings it up; “we want to be a break from hockey…that’s his job,” said Steve.

Tanev has yet to make his NHL debut in his hometown, but when he does, Steve and Lucas will be there, as will the rest of the crew, in addition to countless family members.

Until then it’s more of the same, chillin’, lately at Off The Hook.

“We accommodate his special diet,” said Steve, “but he does have some cheat days – isn’t everyone allowed that?”

Yes, yes they are.