An NHL All-Rookie Team member in 2015-16 and an Art Ross Trophy recipient with 100 points in Edmonton this past season, Connor McDavid has been on a wildly successful, well-documented ride since graduating from the Ontario Hockey League two years ago.
While he’s been busy racking up points with the Oilers, McDavid hasn’t lost track of his old comrades in Erie, keeping tabs on the Otters through their run this past spring that culminated in an OHL Championship.
Stopping by Windsor for a visit at the Mastercard Memorial Cup on Friday, the 20-year-old couldn’t be happier to see his former club competing for Canadian Hockey League supremacy.
“It’s so good to see all of your buddies have success,” he said. “You’re also happy for the city and you almost wish you could be a part of it because that city was unbelievable during the playoffs.
It’s great to see them get that championship and I’m hoping they’ll be able to close things out strong here in Windsor.”
Nine current Otters were teammates with McDavid in 2015 when the club saw it’s playoff run come to an end at the hands of the eventual Mastercard Memorial Cup champion Oshawa Generals.
Seeing those players hoist the Robertson Cup brought a smile to McDavid’s face.
“I still talk with those guys all the time,” he added. “I’m happy for Stromer and the season he’s had, for Brinksy winning the Red Tilson, and Raddysh the way he has really come along as a player.”
McDavid has continued to blossom as a player too, becoming the third-youngest player in NHL history after Sidney Crosby and Wayne Gretzky to win the Art Ross Trophy with 100 points this past season.
He credits some of his current success to his time developing with the Otters in the Ontario Hockey League where he won the Red Tilson trophy and Wayne Gretzky ’99’ Award as the league’s regular season and playoff MVP in 2014-15.
“Playing in the OHL is the best thing that happened to me.
“Moving away from home and getting to know all the guys, learning to be on your own and to play a competitive schedule where you’re playing 68 games and going through a long playoff run, it’s the best development league out there to get you ready for the next step.”
McDavid’s former club takes the ice at the Mastercard Memorial Cup for the first time since 2002 today, taking on the WHL Champion Seattle Thunderbirds at 3:00pm ET/6:00pm PT. The game can be seen across the country on Sportsnet, TVA Sports and will stream live online at CHLLive.com.