Edmonton Oilers superstar Connor McDavid opens up on rise to NHL stardom

Photo credit:© Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
By Woz
1 year ago
While Connor McDavid is a human highlight reel and we’ve watched him develop into this generational superstar.
I’m sure many of you have read or heard comments about Connor McDavid’s personality. That he’s boring, robotic, and lacks personality. Little did we know there was a good reason behind that. He dropped some interesting quotes regarding his career, how he’s stayed humble, why he’s been so reserved, and how he’s felt being compared to the all-time greats in NHL history. In the eyes of many, he’s the best hockey player on the planet.
Behind closed doors, we’ve never learned how he’s felt about being Connor McDavid — until now.
This is really the first time we’ve heard of him speaking about his growth as a human. In his own words how he’s dealt with all the early fame and pressure from when he was an Eerie Otter to becoming the captain of the Edmonton Oilers at 19 to becoming the voice and face of the NHL. Now at 26 years old, he feels comfortable enough to speak his mind in a recent three-part interview series with Mike Zeisberger from NHL.com

The quotes

On all the praise about him:
“When people are saying really nice things, it does mean a lot. But for me, it’s more important to stay focused on what I have to do because the product you see on the ice is a byproduct of a lot of work that goes into it. And when that starts to fade away, then, you know, the product on the ice is going to start to fade. So to me, that’s more important.
“I just normally don’t talk about it. But I’m not naive. I’m not naive to what’s being said. I’m not naive to where I sit in the history of the game and all that. It’s something I’m aware of. But that’s not what I’m after right now at this point in time. Goals, points, all that stuff is fine, but what’s really important is that we’re after something much bigger than any one person or any one award or anything like that.”
On his name in the same breath as Lemieux and Gretzky:
“When I get some time to myself to reflect every now and then, you know, it’s like, well, I have to pinch myself. For sure. Because I get to live my dream and get to do it at a very high level and be linked with some of the greatest players to ever play this sport. And obviously, I love the sport. So to be a part of the history of it would really mean a lot to me. Of course.”
Facing the media from a young age:
“I also think that, as a young kid that was my kind of, I guess, a defense mechanism. You know, kind of put up a bit of a guard and kind of keep media, the public, and everything like that at bay.
“I think back to being named captain at 19 years old, and you have no idea what’s going on. You really have no idea. You’re still trying to find your way in the League. And when I say that, I don’t mean that I regret any decision I made or anything like that. I’m incredibly honored to wear the ‘C’ for the Oilers and have done it for a number of years now.”
Being more comfortable in the spotlight:
“I think the other thing for me was I cared a lot about what the older guys thought about me. I know in hockey, the tradition is to be respectful of the older guys and kind of earn your stripes. I feel like I took that to heart, so that was part of it too. And I feel like I’m in a place now where I have a little bit more respect in the game and can maybe speak your mind a little more freely.”
Using his voice and influence in the NHL especially when it comes topics like international topic and Pride Night in the NHL:
“I understand my position in the game and that my voice carries some weight, so with that, what I talk about and when I talk about it is a little bit more strategic. I put a little more thought into some things. And with that being said, the league has always been super, super open with me. They’ve always wanted to have conversations with me, and the Players’ Association the same thing. So, I feel very lucky to be in that position. I know not every guy gets that type of treatment, so if you do, you’ll feel very lucky that way.”
On his connection with Oilers alumni, Curtis Joseph who played for the Maple Leafs:
“When you grow up in the Toronto area, I feel the NHL presence is very strong. Obviously with the Leafs being there, anyone who plays on the Leafs were kind of heroes and are to a lot of kids there to this day. But also, there are so many different NHL players on different NHL teams that go back to Toronto in the summer. So I remember being 10, 11, 12 years old and being out there with NHL guys. So I definitely had plenty of those kind of experiences around those types of guys. And I think it helps a lot. I think it really does. And just seeing how ‘Cujo’ kind of handled himself while he was at the rink, you know, watching his son play, how he handled fans, but also how he was able to kind of cut out some time for himself as well. And he was always so pleasant to people, and it definitely gives you a perspective on kind of how to handle fans and how to kind of deal with that.”
On when he first noticed people looking wherever he went:
“I didn’t really notice it, at least to that extent, until I came to Edmonton. Obviously, it’s a crazy passionate hockey market. The fans love the Oilers and love their players, and that was kind of my first time noticing and kind of feeling that. It’s an amazing place to play. It’s great.”
Who he watches that’s not Oilers related in the hockey world:
“I like watching players obviously more than teams. So I like watching Pittsburgh for obvious reasons. And I’m probably going to get in trouble for saying this (chuckles) but I like watching the Leafs just with all the talent they have. Those are probably my top two.”
You can read parts one, two and three of the interviews here.

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