He’s an elite soccer player who first honed his skills in a city where his sport remains in the shadow of hockey, and the Edmonton Oilers reign supreme.
But on Friday night, Alphonso Davies’ ascension in the soccer world will be honoured by the Oilers when he takes part in a ceremonial puck-drop ahead of their game against the Calgary Flames.
“I’m excited,” Davies told reporters in the Oilers dressing room on Friday.
Friday night’s game marks the first Battle of Alberta of the 2019-20 NHL season, and also the first time the teenage Edmontonian (who came to Canada from Ghana as a child) will attend a National Hockey League in his hometown.
“Tremendous respect to hockey players,” said Davies, who added that he has been to an Edmonton Oil Kings game before. “It’s not easy every day, going out and getting hit, especially the goalies with all that padding on, that small puck, trying to track it — hand-eye co-ordination is a must.
“They’re some amazing athletes.”
While the Oilers may be one of the most storied hockey franchises on the planet, Davies happens to play for one of soccer’s most prestigious teams. The 19-year-old joined Bayern Munich last January and now plies his trade in the Bundesliga, Germany’s top league.
“Things are going good,” Davies said. “I’m playing more games now, getting some minutes with the team.”
Davies said even just training with some of the best players in the world has helped him get better as a soccer player.
“You learn a lot from those guys,” he told reporters. “Some of those guys are World Cup winners, some of those guys are Champions League winners, so as a kid from Edmonton, going in there, I just want to try to soak up as much information as possible.”
Davies met with Leon Draisaitl on Friday, a German player who has emerged as a hockey superstar with the Oilers.
“I also tried hockey for about a week and I didn’t really enjoy it too much cause you know, obviously, it’s too cold. And football was everything that I wanted to do.”
When asked what it is like to now serve as an inspiration to other young soccer players in Edmonton, Davies suggested he is just carrying on a tradition that already existed before him.
Davies said he is in Edmonton for a nearly two-week break before he returns to Germany where he said he is working to improve his defensive game.
“My family and friends are here, so I’m excited to be back,” he said.
Watch below: Some videos about Alphonso Davies.