The spotlight is on Connor McDavid in the Canucks Young Stars Classic and he’s just fine with it.
“It’s something I’ve been dealing with for a little bit now and getting more and more used to it,” said the Edmonton Oilers rookie to the media following Friday morning practice. “I’m comfortable with it. It’s a good problem to have.”
When the practice concluded in the Okanagan Hockey School Training Centre, McDavid took a few moments to sign autographs and take a couple photos with fans, including Kelowna’s Caleb Syvenky. The youngster ditched school with his father Greg to watch his favourite player McDavid and the other Oilers’ prospects.
“It’s your job to do that now,” said McDavid. “It feels good.”
Caleb, decked out in an Oilers hat and jersey, has come to all the tournaments to meet future Oilers.
“It’s been nice. I got to meet Taylor Hall and (Jordan) Eberle and (Ryan) Nugent-Hopkins. It’s been fairly good,” said Caleb prior to meeting McDavid, to which he high-fived and posed for a photo with.
“We just came down for practice,” said Greg. “Every other year we’ve been the only two people here.”
This time father and son had company. A lot of eyes were on McDavid and Co. There were more fans in the entrance of the South Okanagan Events Centre wanting to purchase newly released tickets for sold out games. While speaking to the media, McDavid was asked if he thought he was part of the reason the event sold more tickets.
“I don’t think it’s anything to do with that. I think there is a lot of great players here,” he said. “A lot of different guys. It should be a good couple of games. I think that’s why.”
Among the fans who were rewarded for waiting in line were Karen and Dean Widney. Karen called everyday trying to get standing-only tickets. They learned of the chance to get tickets this morning during the Canucks’ Business Leader Day. Tickets weren’t being sold until 11 a.m., but they showed up at 9 a.m. to ensure her husband, an Oilers fan, didn’t miss out on the action.
“He just wants to see the Oilers,” said Karen. “It’s the only place you can actually say you’re an Oilers fan.”
“Obviously it’s exciting. You got a guy that everybody is saying is a generational player. To see him on the ice actually practice, it sends chills down your back.
“Hopefully Connor with play all three games,” he continued. “There is a lot of good talent out there. It’s not just about Connor. It’s going to be a good couple of games. Watch the young guys show their stuff.”