Give Korey Davis a can of spray paint, and he'll bring his family's hockey passion to life.
Davis, a graphic design student at the University of Akron, who plays goalie for the college's club ice hockey and roller hockey teams, is responsible for his family's tradition of freehand spray painting hockey logos on the grass of its North Canton, Ohio yard. His family of five has diverse rooting interests, so whichever member's team goes the furthest in the Stanley Cup Playoffs each year gets its logo depicted in the grass.
This season, Davis let his creativity run wild with the San Jose Sharks, his younger sister Jordin's favorite team, in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final, and the Lake Erie Monsters, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets based in Cleveland, in the 2016 Calder Cup Finals.
"I did [the logos] a day apart from each other, but they're both currently in the yard," Davis said. "We live in the corner house of our development, so we put the Sharks logo in the backyard since it faces a busy street and the Monsters one in the front so those entering our neighborhood see that one. Both are clearly visible from the roads."
Davis began playing hockey in his junior year of high school, and his involvement reinvigorated his father, Kevin, who played the sport when he was younger. Now, the whole family loves it and has taken sides in terms of fandom. Korey is a Chicago Blackhawks fan; his father and other sister, Alysha, love the New York Rangers; his mother, Heidi, roots for the Dallas Stars; Jordin cheers on the Sharks and her favorite player is defenseman Brent Burns.
Two years ago, his family was playing with chalk in the driveway when Korey threw out an idea to use spray paint to make his hockey logos more permanent. After buying a few cans at a local store, he spray painted a Rangers logo on his lawn during their run to the 2014 Stanley Cup Final.
A tradition was born. Whether Davis is on the ice or creating art for his neighborhood to see, hockey is ingrained in his family's fabric.
"As soon as I picked up hockey [in the Greater Cleveland High School Hockey League], my dad just got really involved in it again," Davis said. "We watched it every night on TV. A lot of families root for one team, but for some reason, we all wanted to go in different directions based on the players we like on each team."
His art isn't limited to spray painting grass or computer design, either. Davis personally designs his Akron Zips goalie pads and airbrushes his own helmet each offseason to keep it fresh.
Davis plans to continue playing club hockey for Akron during his senior year in the fall. His team plays home games at Center Ice in North Canton, but its season finale the past two seasons against rival Cleveland State University has been played at Quicken Loans Arena, home of the Monsters and the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers. Each of his games at "The Q" were played prior to a Monsters game.
Now, with Davis' spray paint photos and time lapse videos going viral on social media, the Monsters reached out to him to ask permission to promote his work at a Calder Cup Finals home game, inviting him and his family to see either Game 3 on June 6 or Game 4 on June 11 of their upcoming series against the Hershey Bears.
It isn't the only championship round going on in town; the Cleveland Cavaliers are in the NBA Finals for the second consecutive season. But the Davis family is thrilled to experience playoff hockey for the first time in person.
"It's just the beauty of the sport," Korey said. "Hockey is unlike any other thing you can compare it to right now. The way the game flows, the teamwork. It's one thing to watch it but it's another thing to play it. Ever since I started playing, I've fallen in love with it."