Kootenay Ice forward Brett Davis shows off his hand-eye skills in warm-up before a game against the Edmonton Oil Kings during the 2016-17 WHL season. (Brad McLeod Photo)

Kootenay Ice forward Brett Davis shows off his hand-eye skills in warm-up before a game against the Edmonton Oil Kings during the 2016-17 WHL season. (Brad McLeod Photo)

NHL Draft selection a ‘confidence builder’ for Brett Davis

Kootenay Ice forward was prepared for any outcome, elated to be joining Dallas Stars organization

For Brett Davis, hearing his name get called at the 2017 NHL Draft was not a guarantee.

The 18-year-old Kootenay Ice forward watched the event closely from his home in Manitoba with his family, but was ready to be left off the board.

“I was told that it was a 50-50 kind of thing,” Davis told the Townsman the day after he was selected by the Dallas Stars in the sixth round. “I wasn’t stressing too much over it because I knew that if I wasn’t to be drafted, it [wouldn’t be] the end of the road.”

It still felt pretty good though, he admits.

“I can’t really put it into words,” he said on the feeling of seeing his name pop up on the NHL Network live feed. “It was pretty amazing with my family watching. My mom and dad and my two brothers were [with me] and my mom got a little emotional — it was amazing.”

Coming into the draft as the 142nd ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting, Davis’ 163rd overall selection was just about on par. The team was a surprise though.

“I actually hadn’t talked to the Stars at all [prior to the draft],” Davis said. “They were one of the teams that hadn’t said anything to me. When I talked to my agent after the draft [though], they said they were one of the most interested teams the whole time.”

Davis has since talked to all of Dallas’ management and is proud to join the club. He will be participating in the Stars development camp from July 6 to 12 and is eager to get his journey going.

“I’m not expecting it to be an easy camp,” he said. “There’s obviously going to be some good players there. It’s going to be pretty competitive [and] I’m looking forward to it.”

While his work ethic was not going to change either way, Davis believes that being selected by an NHL organization is a huge positive for his development.

“It’s a big confidence builder for sure getting your name picked at an NHL draft,” he said. “It’s something, growing up as a kid, you always dream about [so it’s] obviously nice, but if I wasn’t drafted it wouldn’t have changed my mindset.”

Although the end of last season was disappointing for Davis and the entire Ice team, who finished in last place in the WHL, he is thrilled not only about his own career developments, but also about returning to Kootenay in the fall.

“I think everybody on the roster is super excited for what’s to come with all the changes,” Davis said. “I’ve talked to (general manager) Matt [Cockell] and (new head coach) James [Patrick] and heard [that] there are some changes going on in the dressing room and stuff like that.

“We’re [all] just getting eager to get there and get everything started for the next season.”

In 30 games with the Ice last season, Davis had 11 goals and 11 assists. He played the first half of the season with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, where he put up 7 goals and 4 assists in 29 games, before being part of a deadline trade with Colton Kroeker for overagers Matt Alfaro and Zak Zborosky.

Davis was joined by team captain Cale Fleury, who was selected in the third round by the Montreal Canadiens, as the first players to be drafted from Kootenay since 2014.