U of M’s Davis fills net on way to gold at World University Games Bisons forward top goalscorer at international tourney
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Brett Davis and the Canadian men’s hockey team were determined to hear their country’s national anthem at the end of the 2023 World University Games in Lake Placid, N.Y.
They ended up earning that right as they defeated the United States 7-2 on Sunday in front of a packed house inside the Herb Brooks Arena to win gold in the finale of the 11-day event.
It was the first time since 2013 that Canada had finished on top of the podium in men’s hockey.
The University Games featured 12 sports and 86 medal events, with 2,500 athletes and coaches representing 50 different countries.
“Unfortunately, the tournament only plays the FISU (International University Sports Federation) anthem. So, funny enough, our team lined up along the blue line and once that wrapped up, we all sang the anthem together,” Davis, a second-year University of Manitoba Bisons forward from Oakbank, told the Free Press.
“We had a lot of the Canadian parents, families, and friends joining in and singing along from the crowd, so it was a really cool moment.”
Davis, and Winnipeg’s Noah King — a defenceman with the Calgary Dinos — were the Manitobans on the squad. Davis, 23, led all scorers in goals with six and finished second in total points with 12 in seven games. The red and white bested Ukraine, Sweden, Japan, Latvia and the Czech Republic in the preliminary round before knocking off Kazakhstan 4-1 in the semis.
“It’s a very elite level of competition not just within Team Canada, but internationally. That’s a very high level. To lead the tournament in goals scored and come second in points really is an impressive performance by Brett,” said Bisons head coach Mike Sirant.
“He’s a player with an exceptionally high skill set. He’s an excellent skater, he’s got tremendous speed, outstanding puck skills and he can really shoot, too. He’s a complete offensive player.”
The performance shouldn’t come as a surprise as Davis is seventh in Canada West scoring with 10 goals and 17 assists in 18 games. Drafted in the sixth round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft by the Dallas Stars, Davis spent five seasons in the Western Hockey League between the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Kootenay Ice and Red Deer Rebels, before suiting up for five games with the Manitoba Moose during the 2020-21 campaign.
This also isn’t his first taste of gold as Davis helped the Canadian under-17 team win the 2017 world juniors.
“Representing your country is definitely something I’ve dreamed of,” said Davis. “And to be able to do it not only once, but twice and have the same outcome with a gold medal, it tops off those dreams and makes the experience really nice.”
The physical education major was set to play junior hockey in his hometown, but Kootenay traded Davis the year before the franchise packed up and moved to Winnipeg in 2019. Since stepping onto the ice at the U of M’s Wayne Fleming Arena last season, Davis has scored more than an a point per game.
“After (playing for the Moose), I had to decide what was the best route for me with the offers I had and what was on the table. I thought using up my scholarship would be the best option for me at the time and I wanted to live at home. I also felt I could really help the Bisons team and the Bisons program. Living at home and having my family, my brothers and my girlfriend come to games has been nice,” said Davis.
His homecoming hasn’t been all fun and games, though. The Bisons are 7-15-0 in conference play this year and have a 2-8-0 record at home. They’ve lost seven straight to Canada West opponents, including exhibitions, the club is on a nine-game losing streak.
They’ll look to right the ship this weekend when they host the last-place Trinity Western Spartans (2-22-0) for a pair of tilts. The Bisons have six regular season games left and are currently one point out of a playoff spot.
“Representing your country is definitely something I’ve dreamed of… And to be able to do it not only once, but twice and have the same outcome with a gold medal, it tops off those dreams and makes the experience really nice.”–Brett Davis
“Well, our locker room has to be good right now if we want to be successful down the stretch. I think the belief in our room is still high. We don’t have any hanging heads or guys sulking or anything like that. We’re just ready to push and do whatever we can to make the playoffs,” said Davis.
Playing at the U of M isn’t all about hockey for Davis. While he’s open to a career in the pros, Davis wants to be a phys-ed teacher once he hangs up the skates.
“I enjoy being around kids. I have a pretty good patience level. So, I’d just like to be able to teach our youth and help them develop into successful people in their futures, too.”
Eighteen years old and still in high school, Taylor got his start with the Free Press on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of...