Connor McDavid made his OHL debut on Thursday evening facing the Niagara Ice Dogs. Sixteen seconds into the game he was welcomed into the big leagues with a major hit from Boston Bruins draft pick Dougie Hamilton. It was a clear statement from the Ice Dogs they were not going to treat this fifteen year old with kid gloves but rather show him what to expect as he embarks his career in the OHL. Hamilton was on McDavid throughout most of the game and kept him off the score sheet. With a 4-2 loss to the Ice Dogs, McDavid admitted he was disappointed with the results. “(The game) definitely could have gone a bit better. It sucks to give up the two points. Losing is something that doesn’t sit very well with me.”
Landing at the bottom of the OHL standings last year the Erie Otters were able to select McDavid first over-all in the 2012 OHL priority draft. Many have asked McDavid if he must become the saviour of the Otters. “I don’t feel too much pressure….I try not to focus on me, try to focus on the team game. There are 22 of us out there.”
McDavid believes he is ready to make the jump from midget hockey to the Major Junior “A” league. “I feel pretty comfortable out there, (but) it’s not fully there yet.” McDavid acknowledges he needs to continue improving the defensive side of the game as well as face-offs.
Following the Ice Dog loss the soft-spoken McDavid appeared shaken by the barrage of hits from the Team Canada alumni Hamilton. “It was certainly unexpected and I was not prepared. (Hamilton) might be the best player in the entire league. It’s good to get that under my belt.”
For a young teen, McDavid has been under a number of changes in the last few weeks; a new hockey club, first time away from home, living with a billet family, a new school, not only a new city but a new country. It is understandable if there is an adjustment period for this hockey phenom.
With his second outing in the league, McDavid was able to score his first OHL points with a goal and an assist against last year’s OHL champions the London Knights. While a milestone for McDavid, it was another team loss as the Knights outscored the Otters 8-2. All eyes will continue to be on McDavid throughout the season.