From the moment he stepped onto the ice for the first time, Connor McDavid realized he was different.
He was 18 years old and the youngest player to be named first-team All-Star, a mark that had not been achieved by a player since Wayne Gretzky.
It was the start of a transformation for McDavid.
His journey was a story of perseverance, dedication, hard work and winning.
It wasn’t easy.
After his rookie year, he had to work hard to find his place on the ice and find a way to translate that success into regular-season success.
At the time, McDavid was not sure he could do it.
He had played with some injuries, not to mention the stress of being an NHL player.
“I was like, ‘I’m not going to be able to play this game forever,’ ” McDavid said.
“But you always know that if you work hard and try hard, you’re going to make it.”
As a result, McDonas season came to an end in early December.
His first NHL game came against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
It was an emotional one for McDonais family.
“It’s a hard situation,” McDona-Seth said.
“‘Cause my brother, he played hockey, and I didn’t.
I’m just going to play hockey.
It’s like a dream.
It doesn’t matter if I’m in the NHL or not.”
McDona was one of only two NHLers from the Canadian province of Alberta to win the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s Most Valuable Player.
He also was named the league MVP, leading the league in scoring with 34 points.
He won the Hart Trophy, given to the NHL’s top rookie, as the best rookie in the league.
He had a dream to be the first in his family to win an NHL Stanley Cup, a feat that would go down in history as the most improbable to have ever been achieved.
He could have gone out on a limb and signed with an NHL team, but he chose to pursue his dream.
He wanted to play for the Oilers.
McDonas’ father, Darren, was a lifelong Oilers fan.
Darren played at the team’s youth camps and was one the team staffs that would visit the family home on weekends.
Darren said he had always liked McDavid, who would always smile when he saw him.
“He was so young and so talented,” Darren said.
“Connor loved hockey and he wanted to be a part of it, so we did everything we could to try to get him to sign.”
But after McDavid signed his contract with Edmonton, the NHL had to come up with a plan for his future.
“They were always trying to find a solution for Connor and he was never able to see what he wanted out of life,” Darren McDonain said.
Connor McDavid wanted to leave Edmonton to play in the AHL, but the NHL didn’t want to pay for it.
The Oilers were forced to take a different approach.
McDavid could sign an entry-level contract with the Ducks and play in Anaheim for the next four years, but they didn’t have the budget to pay him.
So, McDaniel came up with an alternative plan: Sign with the Oilers and become an unrestricted free agent.
“We were able to put that out there and he signed it and went out and did the best he could,” Darren MacDonain, Connor’s father, said.
McDavid was given a contract worth $700,000 a season and would play in Edmonton for two seasons.
The contract paid him a little more than $400,000.
It also paid him $1.6 million in salary cap relief.
But after two years, he was dealt to the Carolina Hurricanes.
McDonalds first full season in North America was not kind to him.
He missed the first eight games of the season with an injury, but then he broke his leg in training camp and missed the entire next season.
McDevils first full NHL game, against the Anaheim Ducks, came in January 2016.
It came against one of the most storied franchises in the history of the game.
It came against a team that had just finished the season 10-10-1 and had the NHL Central Division lead for the second straight year.
McDONAS’ career was over.
He would play two more seasons with the Hurricanes, one with the Toronto Maple Leafs and one with Philadelphia.
He finished his career with the Flyers with 956 goals and 1,077 points in 2,946 games.
McDaniels goal was one he would take to the grave.
His legacy would not end there.
His father had a similar story to tell about his son.
He and his wife would have to deal with the emotional trauma of having their son leave his city of birth and relocate to Canada.
“My parents were a little bit broken up,” Darren McDaniels said.’
He had the same