Jeremy Davidson was the only player in the country last year to win the National Championship two years in a row for different organizations. He won the U14 National Title with Honeybaked and this year won the U16 National Title with Shattuck St. Mary’s. We caught up with the skilled forward to talk about his hockey journey and how he wound up committing to UMass Amherst.
Jeremy started playing hockey from the time he could walk at the local rink in Kalamazoo, MI. His older brother Josh was already playing so trying to keep up with him became his first goal in hockey. Like other kids he was involved in multiple sports such as lacrosse and baseball, but as he got older and hockey started becoming more of a year round sport, he began focusing more and more on his hockey career.
He joined the Honeybaked program where he would play against and with some of the top players in his age group from across the United States. By the time the team grew to be Bantam Majors they had one of the most highly rated programs in the country and were ranked in the top 10 all season.
“Playing at Honeybaked was an experience that most hockey players don’t get to experience,” said Davidson. “The bond with the team was like no other, I loved going to practice every day because who knows what coach Trev had in mind, maybe it was edges (most of the time it was,) but other times it was small games and skill work.”
In that season the team qualified for the U14 Nationals in Buffalo, NY. They made a deep playoff run and faced their league rival Chicago Mission in the National Title game. Honeybaked would win in double overtime to take the crown and Jeremy Davidson would officially be on the map for D1 colleges.
“Winning the National Championship that year in double overtime was also pretty unbelievable. We were still pretty young at the time and to end a season like that, it made our team that much closer.”
Jeremy decided after that experience to make the move to Shattuck St. Mary’s in Minnesota; one of the most storied hockey programs of all time.
“I went to Shattuck because I wanted to have that top end education that will prepare me for college and prepare me for the real world. Not only that, but I wanted to play for a great organization and win another National Championship.”
Shattuck has several programs, AAA and AA, U14, U16 and U18. Jeremy was placed on the U16 team, a group that was ranked within the top 10 all season long. He was a second line winger for most of the season and played both penalty kill and power play. The team would go on to qualify for the the U16 Nationals in San Jose, CA where Jeremy would have a chance to win it all again.
“In San Jose, we didn’t really get to do much besides play hockey. So we hung out in our rooms all day and come game time, we were ready to get after it. Trust me, it was tough sitting in a hotel room all day in California, but I think coach Ben knew what he was doing while making us do that.”
The plan worked and Shattuck was able to return to the playoffs where they took down perennial powers Little Caesars, Colorado Thunderbirds and faced Victory Honda in the Championship game. They would win 2-1 in a close fought, excellent hockey game and Jeremy would get his second title in two years with different programs.
“I believe it was that focus off the ice that really helped us with keeping our mind set on what we were there to do. Winning the National Championship with your school buddies, or your dorm friends was very special and no other team could have said the same.”
They didn’t have much time to celebrate as they were one to finals and exams and then the USHL Draft. He had spoken to a few teams leading up to the draft, but had a good idea Bloomington was interested.
“While I was watching the draft, it was about the fourth round when I got a call from coach Dennis Williams telling me that they were going to draft me next. It was a really special moment for my family and I. It’s a great organization, great staff, and I’m very excited to see what the future holds with them.”
He attended the Bloomington Camp in June and was amazed with the talent level.
“It was weird at first playing with so many kids I didn’t know and were ages 15-20, but it was a quick adjustment, or had to be. The competition was unbelievable, every game was played fast and hard and it was very impressive how they could pull in that many high end players.”
After the camp he went to Greenwich, CT to train for the US National Development Camp with friend and recent Wisconsin commit Mathieu De St Phalle. He entered camp confident and in great shape. He impressed most every scout in attendance and many, like our own scouts, were wondering how they missed him at Shattuck. The Shattuck team this past season was known for its goaltending, big defensemen and top line of returners in Rule-Trvigno-McMenamin and Davidson was somewhat under-looked. Good lesson for scouts, don’t underestimate the first year players on Shattuck U16 team (and Culver as well for that matter).
After being one of the leading point-getters in the entire camp with a 3-6-9 line in 5 games, Jeremy went on to stand out in the All Star Game and was selected to the 5 Nations Team. It wasn’t just his offensive production, it was his fluid, balanced stride, physicality and puck possession skill that really stood out and earned him high marks from our scouting staff.
“The first day or two of National Camp was a bit weird because everybody needed to get a feel of everything and get the “jitters” out. But as the week went on the competition started to grow and things got faster and way more fun. I think what led to my success there was obviously my team because I couldn’t have done anything without them, but I tried to focus on playing with confidence and playing my game.”
While he had been recruited by several college coaches for almost two years, things began to fast track after the National Development Camp when offers came in from all over. He knew he wanted to look out east for college, so he visited numerous ECAC and Hockey East schools to narrow down his search. The final three came down to Quinnipiac, Providence and UMass Amherst. After much thought he chose UMass Amherst.
“I loved it there. I had been talking with coach Ben Barr for about two years and we have had a special relationship. So he gave me the tour and I think that helped a lot because I was immediately comfortable. After driving 14 hours home, I had thought about it the whole way and I knew that UMass was the right place for me. They have a great coaching staff, Coach Carvel and DeMichael came over to UMass from St. Lawrence and Coach Barr came over from Western Michigan. If you look them up, their history will speak for itself. Not only are they great coaches, but they know how to work with players and create a relationship.”
Now that he knows his college future, he has set his sites on making the Shattuck Prep team; the team that has had some of the biggest names in the game play for in its history: Sidney Crosby, Zach Parise, Drew Stafford, Jonathon Toews, Jack Johnson, Kyle Okposo and Nathan McKinnon to name a few.
What kind of player is UMass getting with Davidson? Our scouts see him as having top six potential at the next level, being someone who can contribute on both special teams units and play a hard, skilled game. We asked him to describe his game for the UMass Amherst fans who hadn’t see him play yet.
“I am a fast player, hard on pucks, and shoot whenever I get the chance. I need to get stronger and improve my defensive zone game which will be a primary focus going into next season.”
Davidson is the first future commit for the new coaching staff as well as their first get for the 2019 Recruiting Class.
Photo Credit: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images