“’Fast. Great hockey IQ. Major league shot and incredible passing ability,’” read Gordie Clark head of scouting for the New York Rangers, off a scouting report. “The rest are all the same. ‘Tough. Willing to battle along the boards. Only possible downside: small size.’ C’mon, this is a player we would love to get at the end of the 1st round.”
“Yeah, but not this player,” retorted head coach John Tortorella. “Drafting Ryan Davis at all, much less in the 1st round, would be crazy. I wouldn’t have a problem with a player like that on the team, and I’m sure the guys would deal with it, but the other teams won’t be. You know they’re going to send out their goons against small, skilled players, Glen.”
‘”I’ve heard enough,” Glen Sather spoke up, New York Rangers general manager. “Draft the kid. We shouldn’t have to trade up, no one else will want to draft someone like Davis. Get ready to make history gentlemen.” And with that, Sather left the room, already reaching into his jacket pocket for a cigar.
And that was how the improbable journey of Ryan Davis, right winger, began.
Ryan Davis was sitting in the living room of her childhood home in Rochester, New York. She had come home for the summer after playing a season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey league, or QMJHL, for the Quebec Ramparts. Ryan had been playing hockey since she was a kid, and defying the wishes of her mother, who wanted her to go to college, became the first woman to play major junior hockey. She knew she most likely wouldn’t be drafted, but she figured it couldn’t hurt to play a couple of years in the minors and get a taste of what playing in the NHL would be like. It hadn’t been easy, starting with training camp, and continuing until the last game of the Memorial Cup finals, Ryan had been tested by both opponents and teammates who wanted to know if she really had what it takes to play hockey with the guys. As Ryan had proved again and again, she could hang with the big boys, and even above some of them. Ryan scored her third goal of the game in overtime, winning the Memorial Cup and completing her third hat trick of the season. Ryan was at home, wearing sweats with her hair in a ponytail, ready to watch the first round of the NHL Entry Draft, particularly interested in who the New York Rangers, her favorite team, would pick. The draft was made all that more interesting by the fact that Taylor personally knew many of the players being drafted.
Just as Ryan was sitting down with her microwave dinner, the phone rang. She sighed as she stood back up and jumped over the back of the sofa to get to the phone in time.
“Hello?” she asked as she opened the fridge, looking for a soda.
“Hello, this is Glen Sather, GM of the Rangers. I’m looking for Ryan Davis?”
“Uh, yeah, that’s me…” Ryan managed to stammer out.
“Great,” replied the gruff voice. “I was just calling to get the number of your agent. You don’t seem to have written one on the scouting forms.”
“That’s because I don’t have an agent.”
“Well, I think it’s time you get one, seeing as the New York Rangers are about to draft you in the first round.”
“You know I’m a girl right?” was Ryan’s only response. The mistake had been made often over the years, because of her name the fact that she player in all-boys leagues.
A chuckle answered from the other end of the line. “Yes, I know that. Is your mother or father home? Maybe I could speak to them instead of an agent.”
“Sure, hold on.” Ryan was about to shout for her mom, then thought that would be rude and ran to find her instead. She plopped down on the couch after giving her mom the phone, hardly knowing what to think. So she settled on digging into her microwave dinner.