There was an extra skater on the ice when the Steelheads held practice last Wednesday at CenturyLink Arena.
James Davis, a 14 year-old Steelheads fan, was recognized by KTVB as one of “7’s Heroes”, a person who has bravely overcome adversity to serve as an inspiration to the rest of the community. James has autism, but in the past five years has worked hard to achieve a dream of playing organized hockey.
“I went to a Steelheads game in 2012,” said James. “I kept begging my parents to let me play, and when I finally got into hockey I was so happy.”
James was already very involved in Taekwondo and wanted to stay with it, but with dedication he was also able to add hockey to his repertoire and now plays on Idaho Ice World’s “Ice Pilots”.
James says he had a knack for it from the very beginning.
“I was pretty good at it when I first started,” said James. “I went skating at the Village and I did pretty good.”
James put on a show during the Steelheads’ practice as well, scoring on a breakaway when he lifted a shot past goaltender Branden Komm.
“He did great out there and had a great backhand move at the end,” laughed forward Kyle Jean.
Several Steelheads stayed on the ice with James after practice had ended, including Jean, Rob Linsmayer, and Anthony Luciani. They passed the puck around and gave James some insights on what it takes to become a pro hockey player.
“I liked talking to the players. They said you have to work hard if you want to make it to the pros,” said James. “I want to make it to professional minor leagues and see where everything goes from there.”
James continues to improve on the ice and has become both an inspiration and a leader on his team. The Steelheads players got a boost from his appearance at practice as well.
“James has overcome a lot and he has a passion for the sport. He has persevered through the last couple years to find a way to become more involved with hockey,” said Steelheads Head Coach Neil Graham.
“To have him out there with the guys to take a few shots and have some fun was terrific. I know our guys enjoyed having him out here.”