-Some great news this week for three former Regina Pats. 1) The franchise's 4th all-time leading scorer Jordan Weal is on the Los Angeles Kings opening day roster. 2) Last year’s captain Braden Christoffer signed a 3-year entry level deal with the Edmonton Oilers and 3) former captain Brandon Davidson has made the Oilers opening day roster as well.
Davidson, the now 24 year old will start the year with the NHL club. It's really an incredible story for the Taber Alberta product. From being an undrafted bantam player to an Oilers 6th round pick in 2010, to his cancer diagnoses and beating that before now making the NHL. "Things are well right now." Davidson said. "I was able to have a good camp and I was put in a lot of good positions to have success. Over the years of trying to get in, it's nice to finally see some results and see my hard work paying off."
The road to the NHL was not the typical one for Davidson. Before he ever wore a Pats uniform he worked a job to buy his own sticks and equipment. "I had a very loving, supporting family that did whatever they could to get me to practice and to get me on time and stuff. My family has played a huge role in all of this and helped me tremendously. There have been a lot of things that were defining moments. I had to work as a kid to get by as a person before a hockey player. I think that contributes to who I am and how hard I work and I think throughout the years those things have payed off."
Davidson joined the Pats at 18 as an undrafted free agent in 2009, played in 59 games and recorded 34 points and 37 penalty minutes. That following summer he was selected in the 6th round of the 2010 NHL entry draft by the Oilers. He would play three seasons total in Regina and in his career scored 22 goals, 113 assists, 191 PIM'S and was a plus 36 in 200 games played. He captained the club in his 20-year-old season.
From there Davidson joined the professional ranks in 2012/13, starting the season in the AHL. However in November of 2012 he received some news no 21-year-old expects. He was diagnosed with cancer, had to undergo surgery and chemotherapy which put his career in jeopardy. But Davidson beat the disease and returned to the ice that season with the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL where he played 11 games.
The following season he played an entire year in the AHL with Oklahoma City and then again last year another 55 games in the AHL before he got his first call up to the NHL. On December 10th 2014, Davidson played his first game as an Oiler in Anaheim against the Ducks. He played 11 more games with Edmonton that season and scored his first NHL goal on March 30th 2015 in Colorado. "It was a long journey." Davidson reminisced. "I started back in the East Coast after the chemotherapy and the surgery and worked my way up from there. I am ever thankful for all the support the Oilers have given me over the years and especially my family as well. I have had a tremendous support team and system and I owe it all to them and I am very happy with where I am at."
Now the work continues for 'BD' who wants to remain with the big club this season and be apart of the excitement that is growing with the team. There are eight defenceman on the Oilers roster and Davidson is seen by many as the 8th guy but will get some looks this year. He was kept over Nikita Nikitin who is on an NHL contract and will make $4.5 million dollars playing in the AHL. 1st round pick Darnell Nurse was also sent to Bakersfield. Davidson would have had to clear waivers to be sent down and the Oilers obviously did not want to risk that.
The Oilers open the regular season Thursday in St. Louis. You can hear my full interview with Davidson during the 1st intermission of Sundays Pats game against the Edmonton Oil Kings.
On a personal note, Davidson is a guy that does not come around very often. On and off the ice an incredible person and player. Could not be happier to see him succeed and I know that is echoed by everyone who was a part of the Pats organization during his 3 year career.
- As for the current Regina Pats, yes it was a tough weekend but everyone needs to take a pill and not jump on these guys. Yes the powerplay and penalty kill has struggled, yes their best players were not at their best in the two games but the comments that came into my blog this week are frankly embarrassing. It's four games into the season and fans are already writing off over half the teams players. Last year the team started oh and 2, the year before 1 and 5 and both times made the playoffs. I propose we wait more than 4 games to make any judgement on this team.
- The Pats are back in action on Friday when they host the Vancouver Giants at the Brandt Centre at 7 o'clock. They wrap up the 5 game home stand on Sunday against Edmonton before heading out on a week long trip through Alberta.
- The Regina Thunder clinched home field in the first round of the playoffs on Sunday with a 30-20 win in Calgary over the Colts. Colton Klassen ran for 175 yards and Jaeden Marwick threw 2 touchdowns in the victory.
- The MLB playoffs are here! Was a great start last night in New York where the Yankees lost to the Houston Astros 3-0. Not a Yankee fan, glad they are out after one game. Much like their entire second half of the season, the offense was all dried up last night. Good riddance! Tonight's Pittsburgh, Chicago Cubs wild card game should be fantastic but I wish it was Thursday already when the Jays host the Rangers.
- Interesting that Toronto has decided to go with Marco Estrada in game 3 after Price and Stroman instead of R.A. Dickey. Dickey will get game 4 if it is necessary. If it is not then he wouldn't pitch until game 3 or 4 of the Championship series. I like the move, Estrada has been so good since the all-star break and the knuckleballer scares me. Even if he has had a good second half as well.
- The NHL season starts tonight! Jeeze October is a good month. MLB, NFL, CFL, NHL and of course the WHL. It does not get any better.
- Be sure to catch tonight's episode of Pats TV on Access 7 starting at 6:30. My guests this week are forward Austin Wagner, defenceman James Hilsendager and goaltender Tyler Brown.
That's all I have for today, have a great week everyone!