by ACAC Sports Writer Curtis J. Phillips
Tears to cheers.
No doubt a few tears are shed when an aspiring 14-or-15 year-old hockey player packs their bags and leaves home to pursue his hockey career in a new city.
Not even old enough for a driver's license, they are billeted out by a new surrogate family.
Such was the vase for Jordan Davies, at least it was for a while.
Davies currently plays for NAIT Ooks men's hockey team competing in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference.
Born November 26, 1996, Davies would leave Sherwood Park, Alberta to play for the Alberta Junior Hockey League Whitecourt Wolverines from 2012-2016 with a cup of coffee - seven games in 2013-2014 - in the Western Hockey League with the Tri-City Americans, located in Kennewick, Washington.
"You definitely have to make a sacrifice," said Davies, a 6-foot-2 defenceman. "You miss home and friends.
Whitecourt was a very small town. But you had your team around you to hang out with and socialize and study with.
"Fortunately in Grade 12 (after AJHL season) I was able to come back and graduate from Bev Facey (Community High School) with all of the buddies I grew up with."
During his time in Whitecourt, he suited up for 133 regular season games, recording 24 goals and 44 assists.
The highlight during this stint was the call up to the WHL Tri-City Americans.
"I think there was a little nervousness when I first took to the ice. But after you get the first or two shifts out of the way, everything is Ok. You are playing with good players that make you look better also.
"(difference from AJHL to WHL) The speed...they are making plays at a higher speed. Everyone can skate and make plays at a high pace."
For the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 seasons, his home-away-from-home would be with the AJHL Okotoks Oiler after a trade with the Nipawin Hawks.
His billets were no strangers though.
They just happened to be his grandparents, Jack and Joyce Doran, residing in the hamlet of De Winton, Alberta.
"I went from seeing them maybe two or three time a year, to seeing them every day for six or seven months," recalls Davies, 21. "It was an awesome opportunity.
"They came to every game (Okotoks is 12 kilometres away) and they also had season tickets to the Flames (Calgary was 39 klicks away). They are selfless people and were willing to cater to pregame meals and have all the things to help me be successful on the ice.
"My grandmother would always make me breakfast and sometimes we would have some of my teammates over for breakfast also and she would get to know them."
Davies played 76 games with the Okotoks Oilers with the stats sheet showing four goals and 48 assists.
Following his AJHL career Davies returned home to Sherwood Park.
"I had been away from home for four-and-a-half years," said Davies, who was also a star at inline roller hockey and lacrosse. "It was awesome to be back home and being able to go to school in Edmonton and play on a team with a lot of local guys."
Included on the Ooks roster was longtime friend and former teammate Tyler Robertson who Davies played his minor hockey with. Robertson would skate with the WHL Edmonton Oil Kings from 2013-2017 before signing on with the Ooks.
"I never thought we would play on the same team again, so it has been great," admits Davies
Davies was also teammate with current Ooks defenceman Carson Beers during his last year in Okotoks
Of Davies decision to join the Ooks, Okotoks Oilers head coach and director of hockey development Tyler Deis said at the time, "Bringing both size and strength to our backend, Jordan put up some significant minutes as one of our team leaders over the past couple of seasons. NAIT is extremely fortunate to have Jordan joining their team."
Last year 2016-2017, in his rookie AJHL season, Davies appeared in 19 contests with four goals and eight assists recorded for a NAIT Ooks team that would earn silver at the ACAC provincials, losing to crosstown rival MacEwan Griffiths in a three-game series.
Asked what sort of defenceman he is, Davies replied: "I like to think that I am an offensive defenceman. We lost a couple of key defenceman from last year and the coaches have given me a bigger role and I have taken advantage of the opportunity and I am running with it. Opportunity is everything."
Davies said his eventual life goal is to, "Get into marketing. I would like to stay in the world of sport and hockey and get into a marketing job for a sports team. If not that, possibly coaching. I would like to coach at the Junior or college level."
The Ooks currently sport a record of five wins and three losses with 35 goals for and 29 goals against. Dawing jersey No. 27, Davies has scored a goal and added six assists.