ERIE, PA - When Connor McDavid was just three, he was rollerblading in the basement of his Newmarket, Ontario home using his mom and grandma as the goalie. When he transitioned to the ice, he caught on quickly, like a lot of his friends.
"I'm just a normal kid. Like to hang around with my friends and watch movies, nothing crazy," said McDavid.
While he may look like just a normal kid, his play on the ice is anything but normal. By the time Connor was a pre-teen he was turning heads. He has been on the radar of scouts since he was 12 years old. At 15 he and his parents made the difficult decision to apply for exceptional player status, meaning he could enter the Ontario Hockey League draft. The OHL is one of the top junior leagues in the world, filled with players as old as 20. He was taken first overall by The Erie Otters and hasn't looked back. He won rookie of the year honors last season, adding to his resume and legend. From an early age, he has been labelled "the Next One", meaning the next Sydney Crosby or Wayne Gretzky.
"It's been pretty surprising the amount of attention I've gotten," said McDavid,"It's a little bit different and its something that is obviously there, but you just put it in the back of your mind. At the end of the day there is still a lot of work to be done, a lot of things I have to do to get to the next level. You're not going to be able to do that if you're worried about the pressure."
And when asked about the projections of him being taken number one overall in the 2015 NHL draft? "I'm still a year and a half away. There's still another draft before mine, so we've got a lot of time," said McDavid.
So as fans, especially here in Buffalo, salivate thinking about the 2015 draft and the player they see as the next "can't miss kid", that kid knows the best way to make that prediction a reality is to keep working hard and keep things in perspective.
"I'm just trying to do the best I can at everything I do, and just trying to have a lot of fun along the way."