Hockey players are notorious for bestowing nicknames on their teammates. Last season’s team captain and longtime AHL veteran, Josh Green, was dubbed, ‘Uncle Greener’. Curtis Hamilton holds the title; ‘Hammy’ and Taylor Fedun was either ‘Feds’ or ‘Fedsy’ depending on what day of the week it was or who was calling his name.
Brandon Davidson went unexpectedly and suddenly from being affectionately called, ‘Davy’ to respectfully called ‘Warrior’. The name is as symbolic as it is accurate.
“It was a very emotional season,” said Davidson. “It was kind of a whirlwind of events for me personally and for our team.”
On November 1, doctors told Davidson, a 21-year old rookie, that he had testicular cancer. A humbling experience for one so young and in their athletic prime.
The news hit the locker room like a lead pipe.
“When we first heard that he got diagnosed, that was pretty surreal,” said former teammate Alex Plante. “You never really think about people our age getting that, let alone on an athlete. That’s just so close to you.”
Two days following diagnosis, the Barons blueliner had surgery and spent the next 12 weeks recovering from surgery and undergoing chemotherapy.
The task of recovering from the emotional and physical stress of his predicament might have ended the career of another man. But not Davidson… He’s a warrior.
Brandon Davidson returned to game action just three short months after being diagnosed with cancer.
“Something that I will always remember is my first game back after having surgery and going through chemotherapy,” Davidson said, remembering that night. “Stepping back on the ice and waving my stick in the air and having everybody stand up and cheer. It was definitely an emotional night and it was definitely something that I’ll never forget and something that definitely sticks out in my mind.”
Not only did Davidson defy the odds and return to the ice but also he performed as one of the Barons most solid defenceman and provided a spark that helped the team reach Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals.
“I’m very happy that I was able to come back this season and play and come back from my illness and it’s definitely exciting knowing that this is just the beginning and there’s a lot more left and this is just the beginning of a career.”
Davidson’s roommate and one of his close friends, Taylor Fedun, was in awe of what Brandon was able to accomplish.
“It was obviously a difficult year for Brandon with his battle with cancer,” Fedun said. “But I can’t say enough good things about that guy. To see how he handled everything and to come back and be a huge guy for us down the stretch, it was pretty awesome to see and be along for the ride.”
One might think that after the season he had, Brandon Davidson would be ready for a break from hockey and a vacation from an emotionally draining year. But the warrior has one regret; not finishing the season on his terms.
“I’m sad to be going,” Davidson said. “I’m definitely disappointed in not going all the way (winning a championship), for sure. But, I have got to take the positives out of it and there’s a lot to take out of this year.
“A person’s health is always number one and I’m just glad to be healthy again and able to be productive too on the back-end and just very thrilled with the outcome.”
So, what’s next for one of the Edmonton Oilers’ youngest blueline prospects? Davidson claims that it’s time to take on a leadership role and continue to build off of a tremendous end to a tumultuous season.
“That’s momentum for next year… Next year is going to be a different team. But, it definitely makes my job more comfortable and I can kind of take on more of a leadership role and keep moving forward as a player and hopefully help the next guys that are coming up as well.”
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