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IN DEPTH: Driven

by Chris Wescott / Edmonton Oilers
*This week we are running our October 2015 piece on Connor McDavid, his childhood and passion for the sport of hockey. This will be our final installment of In Depth this off-season. All new stories begin this October.*






A very serious six-year-old Connor McDavid walked into a room in his Newmarket, Ont. home with something to say.


It's a very serious subject, telling your parents you'll be leaving them. Leaving your hometown, your friends and family behind is no laughing matter. So maybe that's why Kelly McDavid, Connor's mother, didn't find her son's decree very amusing at the time.

"I turned to him and said, 'oh my gosh, you don't want to leave your mom.' He looked me right in the eyes and said, 'Are you gonna stop me?'

"I looked at him and said, 'well, maybe.'

"That's when I sort of realized, at that moment, that he was serious," said Kelly.

When he was only six, Connor knew exactly what he wanted do to with his life. Or, at the very least, he was ready to express his intentions to mom and dad.

He told his parents then that he was going to leave his home at the age of 14. He told them he planned to attend Shattuck St. Mary's boarding school in Fairbault, Minnesota, over 1500 kilometres away, just like Sidney Crosby. He would be granted exceptional player status from the Ontario Hockey League and would later win a World Junior Championship.

The serious six-year-old knew then he would be the first-overall pick in the National Hockey League Draft and he emphatically declared he would have a long, Hall of Fame career in the NHL.

"He had it all figured out when he was about six I think," said Connor's father, Brian.

Brian and Kelly, speaking from their home in Newmarket, recall that conversation as the first time Connor told them he was going to play in the NHL. They had their suspicions, of course. From a such a young age, even younger than six, Connor displayed such passion and love for the game of hockey that his career intentions shouldn't have come as a shock. They handled Connor's announcement the same as any good parent would. They fuelled his dreams, stoking the fires that already burned inside.

"I think we've always approached that stuff with our kids as anything is possible if you work hard at it," said Brian. "That's the kind of message that's been delivered to them throughout when they were young. Hard work, I won't say trumps everything, but it can get you a long way in life. Those are the messages we delivered and we didn't want to crush his dreams."

Brian says it didn't become clearer until later that Connor had the skills and talents to match his talk. Six-year-old Connor had a plan. An older, wiser and still determined version of the young boy began to work the plan. Connor, now 18 and a member of the Edmonton Oilers, is living it.

"There was no moment where I said, 'okay, this is what I want to do,'" said Connor. "I've just always known this is what I want to do. It's been since day one."

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