By Mark Staffieri
The youngest general manager in the CWHL, Rebecca Davies is helping to lead the Furies resurgence. As the only GM to have played in the league, the 28 year old Davies logged four points (one goal and three assists) during her final season (2011-12).
In the early years of the CWHL, Davies competed with the Mississauga Chiefs, and appeared at the 2008 Esso Women’s Nationals. In three games at the 2008 Nationals, she logged two points in a three game span. After playing for the Mississauga Chiefs in their final CWHL season (2009-10), she was selected by the expansion Toronto Furies in the 2010 CWHL Draft. As part of the inaugural Furies season, Davies appeared in the 2011 Clarkson Cup Finals, a loss to the Montreal Stars.
"My entire experience in the CWHL has been quite the journey. From first entering the league in 2007 to the inaugural season of the Furies in 2010 to where the league is today and direction it continues to head in, I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had to opportunity to be a part of it all.”
Davies and four of her former teammates (Lindsay Brown, Amanda Church, Christina Davis and Brayden Ferguson) from the St. Francis Xavier X-Women were claimed in said draft. Davies was selected 21st overall. “The first draft in 2010 was a unique one and big step for the league. For most of the players in the GTA, we were unsure of what team we would be dressing for. I was fortunate enough to have been drafted by Toronto and although alongside some of my former teammates from St. FX in Christina Davis and Amanda Church, unfortunately we didn't get the chance to play together as part of the Toronto Team, but the draft was definitely an experience that was neat to be able to share with them."
While at St. FX, Davies was named to the 2004-05 Canadian Inter-university Sport All-Rookie team. She would follow it up with a nod to the 2006-07 CIS Second Team All-Stars. Among Atlantic University Sport women’s hockey players, she ranks fourth all-time with 80 goals. After graduating from George Brown College in Toronto with a postgraduate degree in Sport and Event Marketing, Davies was hired by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. Fluent in English and French, she began to earn her experience in the administrative side of sport with MLSE.
Along with former CWHL player Sommer West (who played with her in Mississauga), the two now comprise the leadership of the newly rebuilt Toronto Furies. With any new responsibility, there come its challenges. "Coming into the season my biggest hesitation was around how I was going to adjust in my change of roles not just on a personal level, but also when it came to interacting with and gaining the respect of the players. Good news is that to date I have not missed the on-ice aspect of the game. I now get to look at and experience this sport in a completely different context which has actually refreshed my love of the game. We have such a great group of players, coaches and volunteer staff who support each other and the league no matter what that I am never short of helping hands and brains to pick."
After a disappointing 2011-12 season that saw the Furies log a losing record, Davies did a superlative job of addressing the team’s woes in the 2012 CWHL Draft. As the Furies offense in 2011-12 was decimated from the retirement of future Hockey Hall of Famer Jennifer Botterill, Davies put together one of the finest drafts in CWHL history. With the selection of Vancouver Winter Games gold medalist Rebecca Johnston in the first round, Davies has found the cornerstone for the future of the franchise.
Davies acknowledged that said draft may be a defining point in the team’s history. "Absolutely. Myself and the coaching staff entered the draft this year with the number one goal being to improve our offense as this has been an area that we have struggled with over the past few seasons. We started with our number one pick in Rebecca Johnston and continued to build our team after that by adding in Spooner, Wakefield, White, Peroff and Urban. These ladies are all extremely talented young players who we see as having an immediate impact on not only our team but the overall league as well. Combine our rookie line-up with our veterans and I believe we have taken a big jump in the right direction for this franchise."
Along with the drafting of Canadian national team members Jennifer Wakefield and Natalie Spooner, Davies has acquired a titanic trio. The three picks all played together for the gold medal winning Team Ontario at the 2007 Canada Winter Games. If they can recreate the magic that they created at the CWG, Davies will not only look like a genius, but she will make the Clarkson Cup dreams for championship starved hockey fans in Toronto come true.
As claiming the coveted Cup is the goal of every franchise, Davies remarked on what it will take to win the Clarkson Cup. "I think that it is going to take some veteran leadership from both our players and coaches. We have put together a coaching staff that consists of some former CWHL players which will allows us to better adjust our player depending on the teams we are facing which will be an advantage when it comes to going up against the stronger teams in Boston and Montreal. I think our veteran players are going to play a big role in helping the rookies’ transition into the league. Whether you are coming from an NCAA or CIS program, this league is a big adjustment for any player. We have been happy with what we've seen to date both on and off the ice and I am truly looking forward to the upcoming season."