In the meantime, an intense series of surgery, physiotherapy and recuperation is in his future. On top of that, he might be fortunate enough to get some serious downtime. This extra free time might just allow him to explore our city a little more. This untimely injury will let him see the things he has wanted to see most. In his case, that would mean visiting the Edmonton Valley Zoo. Ironically enough, him and I both ended up at the zoo at the same time.
I often spend my Thursday afternoons alone at the zoo. Once biochemistry class ends at 1pm, I joyfully take the bus and complete my assigned homework before enjoying some colorful animals at the zoo. I make sure to pack along fancy cheeses, croissants and Skittles so that I am truly prepared for whatever the zoo has to throw at me. So it was very much to my amazement that Connor McDavid was doing the same.
He was very much undercover and low-key when I first caught wind of him. He was wearing an overly large bucket safari hat, a tan trench coat, and eating a two scoop vanilla ice cream cone. It was clear that this man was thoroughly enjoying himself. However, I did find it strange that he was eating ice cream in almost the middle of November. Regardless of this fact, I knew it was him. One does not simply misplace or forget his wonderful and very youthful smile. In person, it truly is a sight to behold.
I stealthily followed him around the Bighorn Sheep exhibit. He laughed to himself frequently, and often pressed his hands up against the display glass windows. I noticed that he would silently talk to the animals, but they tended to take no notice of him. Unfortunately, these Bighorn Sheep were unfamiliar with his relentless dangles, sick hands and unquestionable control of the slot.
As he continued to tour the facility, I planned to make my move at the Zebra site. I later found out that he had saved the Zebras for last because they are his favorite animals. He enjoys the fact that they so closely resemble referees.
It was definitely a slower day at the zoo, so I had plenty of opportunities to easily start a conversation with the kid. I confidently made my approach, and initiated conversation. He was into it. Before I knew it, we were touring the compound together, enjoying one another's company. We chatted in length about baseball, politics and ice cream. We didn’t talk hockey or discuss shoulder anatomy. No autographs or pictures were exchanged; I strictly focused on keeping things socially acceptable and normal. It had the feeling of two old friends shooting the breeze and cracking wise.
He spoke in length about his plans to complete a university degree in economics once he hangs his skates up farther down the road. I was also surprised to learn about his devout love of gardening, and his extensive vintage pin collection. All in all, this ended up being a very pleasant and revealing experience for the both of us.
I parted ways feeling a heightened sense of optimism for the Oilers organization. The exciting potential of this young man is staggering. We are very fortunate as a city to have the opportunity of fostering his talent. Good things are to come from this well mannered gentleman. Thanks for the chat Connor.