Close to home: draft pick Davis excited to vie for spot with Jacks
May 11, 2011
The place to be Monday afternoon was Peppino's Sports Grille and Pizzeria - especially if you're a fan of Jimmy Davis, a gritty blueliner from Kentwood.
By Christopher Heimerman
Muskegon, Mich. - If you thought the players lounge was jumping at the L.C. Walker Arena during the 2011 United States Hockey League Entry Draft on Monday, May 16, you should’ve seen the scene at Peppino’s Sports Grille and Pizzeria near the Davis household in Kentwood, Mich.
That’s where Jimmy Davis and his biggest fans – his parents, sister, uncle, grandmother and high school coach – gathered to watch the draft in hopes the defenseman would be selected by the Muskegon Lumberjacks.
And when his name went on the board in the eighth round, one member of the party couldn’t hold back her emotions.
“My mom started crying,” Davis said. “Everyone’s so excited to have me close to home.
“Me? I just smiled. I couldn’t do anything else. I was so happy from head to toe.”
Davis was a standout blueliner at East Kentwood High School, just south of Grand Rapids, and he graduated early, allowing him to take in the draft’s festivities. He stands 6 feet flat, weighs 190 pounds and credits his father, Jim, for his dedication to pursuing his dream.
“My dad just kept pushing me and pushing me, and he put my toughness into me,” Davis said. “He was my coach growing up, we’ve always worked out together and I’ve had to keep up with him. It became habit working so hard, and I couldn’t have gotten here without that.”
“Jimmy’s got an unbelievable compete level,” Jacks Head Coach Kevin Patrick said during the draft Monday.
Davis played for his father in the West Michigan Warriors program. Naturally, the elder Davis was alongside as the results were projected on the wall at Peppino’s.
Davis wore the number 24 as a tribute to his model of excellence, Chris Chelios; he strives to emulate the blueliner’s hard-nosed style of play. He looks forward to playing in the USHL because of the caliber of play, particularly when it comes to the physical component.
First thing’s first, the Jacks’ tryout camp, which is June 13-19 at the L.C. Walker Arena, can’t come soon enough for Davis, who’s a big fan of all the pieces already in place – particularly the Jacks’ skipper.
“There’s already a great group of guys there who play great hockey,” Davis said. “They play fast and physical, and I love Kevin Patrick. He’s not a yeller. He knows how to bring the best out of his players.”
Davis’ favorite hockey memory was when he and his East Kentwood teammates reached the final four in the Michigan high school hockey tournament. They came up short against Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Prep in the semifinals. In a few weeks, he’ll hope to make the cut and start a brand new page in his hockey scrapbook with a new band of brothers.
“To think about the opportunity I have in front of me?” Davis said. “Oh my, I’m just beyond ecstatic.”