I doubt there isn’t a boy or girl in Canada who hasn’t dreamed of playing in the NHL. Such fantasies may come true for fourteen year old Hayden Scott Davis from Hamilton. Over six feet tall, Hayden has many eyes looking up to him. The young defenseman has been turning heads with his hockey acumen and is garnering attention from the hockey gods that can turn dreams into reality. So much so that Hayden has an agreement with an agent. I ask Hayden what he will do if he gets drafted by the NHL and signs a big league contract when he turns eighteen. “The first thing I’d do is thank my parents and then buy them a trip,” the unassuming teen responds.
It’s obvious his proud parents, Paula and Jeff, have raised a good, decent young man. I press Hayden about a purchase for himself. He gives me a shy glance and smiles. “I’d buy a sports car.”
In a sea of troubled youth Hayden is a bright spot or the future. Despite the fact his world revolves around making it to the pros, Hayden also realizes injury or a myriad of other reasons may derail his love of the game. “I think I might like to be a lawyer,” Hayden informs me but only if other hockey avenues do not come to fruition.
Consistently earning over 80% in school, I would imagine Hayden’s love of math plays an integral part of his hockey skill. Mathematics requires patience, thought and problem solving- akin to qualities a good defenseman needs on the ice. When I interviewed Hayden he took his time to answer the questions and delivered those responses with certitude. It is refreshing to speak to an athlete who puts his family and friends ahead of himself. Hayden enjoys the camaraderie in the locker room as much as the game itself and that is an important and admirable aspect of this young man. He simply loves to play the game, win or lose. Naturally, Hayden feels some self-imposed pressure to win and be the best he can be but isn’t that what life is all about? There is a calm surrounding Hayden and he reminds me that notwithstanding all the attention, his parents most definitely will keep him grounded. I look to his father, Jeff and he grins.
“I’ll support you no matter what hap- pens,” Jeff says genuinely. It is no wonder with such good parenting that Hayden himself states he would like to be a father one day and coach his own son.
I ask Hayden about his family. Not surprising, he tells me his folks and younger sister, Harper are the most important. Hayden feels a debt of gratitude to his kin for their monetary sacrifices and emotional support on his way to bigger and better things.
I question Hayden on the best coach so far in his career. “That’s easy. The one who cut me,” he replies. It is this motivation and to constantly better himself that leads straight to the NHL. More importantly, Hayden has a life recipe and it is working.
At the age of three Hayden began playing hockey. It is quite rare that any of us have the fortitude, ambition and opportunity to chase our dreams. Not only is Hayden chasing those dreams, he’s caught them and is already deftly stick-handling through the game of life… “The best part about playing defense is that I can see the entire ice. It makes you a better forward. You think less and react and you can predict what will happen. I focus on what I can control,” Hayden says. I believe Hayden sees life the same way and should he make it to the pros, I am certain he will be a good role model.
Like any athlete the bug of superstition looms. Hayden must be the last to put on his jersey and the first player on the ice after the goalie.
I inquire as to what was the best moment yet in his career. “Playing in Quebec and going to the winter carnival. Oh, and I really like going to Disneyland in Florida too.” I can’t help but smile. For all the maturity of Hayden there is still a kid inside and perhaps it is that child, with his dreams and goals that will rocket him to the starting line-up of his favourite team, the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Written by: Ben Guyatt