OKC Barons: Brandon Davidson's season has been emotional but meaningful

The 21-year-old defenseman has whipped cancer and has helped the Barons reach the American Hockey League's final four.
by Michael Baldwin Published: May 30, 2013
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photo - Brandon Davidson of the Oklahoma City Barons tries to get past Mark Olver of the Lake Erie Monsters during AHL hockey game at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, October 23, 2012. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Brandon Davidson of the Oklahoma City Barons tries to get past Mark Olver of the Lake Erie Monsters during AHL hockey game at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, October 23, 2012. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

After being selected in the sixth round three years ago, the Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, product returned to Regina in the Western Junior Hockey League.

Davidson scored 100 points with the Pats his final two seasons. He was Regina's Rookie of the Year two years ago. Last season, he led all Pats' defensemen in scoring.

With the Barons, Davidson has played more of a defensive role. He scored five points in 26 regular season games but has five assists in the playoffs. He scored 12 points in 11 games with Stockton in the ECHL during a rehab stint.

“That was good for him,” Oklahoma City goaltender Yann Danis said. “He wasn't the same player I remember the first month of the season. When he came back he played with a lot of confidence. He's improved like 10 times from before.”

Davidson agrees a monthlong stint in Double-A was exactly what he needed after being sidelined for three months.

“It helped me get my lungs back, get back in shape and get a feel for the game again,” Davidson said. “Sometimes it doesn't come back as quickly as you'd like. But I got to play in every situation. It's been steady Eddie ever since.”

The ultimate goal is to play in the NHL. That might come as early as next season if injuries necessitate an Edmonton call up. Realistically, Davidson probably will spend most of next season in Oklahoma City continuing to improve his overall game.

“I want to try to make it as fast as I can, but I also want to get there doing things the right way,” Davidson said. “I'll always play my heart out and let upper management make those decisions.”

Regardless when he makes his NHL debut, Davidson is a prospect despite being the 162nd player selected in the 2010 NHL draft.

The three-month cancer detour improved his standing with the organization. His plus/minus isn't off the charts but in 38 games with the Barons he's plus-3.

Davidson's emotional season has a happy ending. And it's not over.

“Ever since those (Edmonton Oilers) guys left after the lockout we've kind of been the underdog,” Davidson said. “Everyone has bought in and really come together. We're playing our best hockey. It's very exciting. We all realize we have a chance to do something special.”

One of the top highlights this season was talented, young NHL stars Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall and Justin Schultz played three months in the Cox Convention Center during the lockout. But one of the top stories from the 2012-13 season will be Davidson earning an award given for character.

“To miss three months is big no matter what the reason is,” Danis said. “But it was cancer. It's such a huge credit to him. He's solid. He's a guy we can rely on. It's incredible for him to come back and play this well. It's an unbelievable story.”

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by Michael Baldwin
Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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