McDavid junior coach at Game 7 Tonight bug

SUNRISE, Fla. -- On this, the biggest stage of his already prestigious hockey career, Connor McDavid has not forgotten those who supported him in his journey from minor hockey tot to the face of the NHL.

Count Sherry Bassin as one of those at the top of that list.

As such, the Edmonton Oilers captain took it upon himself to have Bassin and his daughter fly down to South Florida and provide them with tickets for Game 7 of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final against the Florida Panthers at Amerant Bank Arena on Monday (8 p.m. ET; ABC, ESPN+, SN, TVAS, CBC). The Stanley Cup will be in the house and McDavid wanted to make sure Bassin was, too.

“There’s going to be a lot of people in the building who mean a lot to me,” McDavid told Sunday. “You can’t help but think of these moments of the people who helped you get to this situation and Sherry was a big part of that.

“So it’s only fitting that Sherry will be in the building.”

Bassin is the former co-owner of the Erie Otters and selected McDavid, who was 15 years old at the time, No. 1 in the 2012 Ontario Hockey League Draft. McDavid has said in the past that Bassin became like a second father to him, always watching out for his best interests after he moved from his native Newmarket, Ontario to the southern shore of Lake Erie.

Now 27, McDavid continues to have a strong relationship with Bassin and annually attends Bassin’s charity golf tournament in Oshawa, Ontario.

“Special, special player, even a better person,” Bassin said via text Sunday before his scheduled flight to Florida.

The Oilers face the Panthers in a winner-takes-all Game 7

Oilers forward Connor Brown is thrilled with McDavid’s efforts to ensure that Bassin will be in the stands for the winner-take-all matchup against the Panthers. Brown and McDavid were teammates with the Otters from 2012 to 2014.

“That’s amazing,” Brown said. “I mean, I think you know that me and Connor, if we ever had the chance of winning the ultimate prize in hockey like this, there was no way that Sherry wasn’t going to be here to potentially celebrate with us.

“Sherry’s a huge part of our development and just an incredible man and gave us so many life lessons outside of hockey. He knows the game of hockey better than anybody. But the type of values he instilled in us as young kids propelled us to take on the challenges of playing in the NHL with character and class. A lot of that came from Sherry.

“I think they would have a warrant out for his arrest or something for him not to be here,” Brown added with a laugh.

The two Connors aren’t the only ones who are stoked that Bassin will attend Game 7. It was Bassin, after all, who hired Kris Knoblauch as coach of the Otters in 2013, then watched the native of Imperial, Saskatchewan lead Erie to four consecutive 50-win seasons, the first Canadian Hockey League team to ever accomplish that feat.

Eleven years later, Knoblauch is the coach of the Oilers and is one win away from helping Edmonton win the Stanley Cup.

“Sherry’s been very influential in a lot of players’ lives,” Knoblauch said. “I saw firsthand how important he was to a lot of players. Obviously Connor [McDavid]. And also in my life too. He’s a dear friend for me. I had the pleasure of working for him for many years.

“But I do know there definitely is something special between Connor and Sherry.”

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