From role model to teammate
Born and raised in Airdrie, Alberta, Josh Davies was your regular, everyday kid. He loved hockey, had a great mom, dad and sister, and - like any good Canadian boy - dreamed of playing in the big leagues one day.
Little did Dale and Rosalind Davies know, but Josh's love for the game proved to be more than a fun hobby as he quickly developed into a notable difference maker, turning heads with each passing game. Head down, nose to the grindstone, Josh worked hard to develop his skills and loved every second on the ice.
But, as in life, there is always a catch. That catch?
Type 1 Diabetes.
And, as any individual or family who has lived through diagnosis and with this auto-immune disease on a daily basis can attest to, "catch" is a heavy understatement.
For Josh and his family, this life-changing burden arrived in 2014, just as a 10-year old Josh was setting his sights on taking his game to the elite level.
Though a life-changing moment that brought hardship and pain, the diagnosis of #type1 did not stand in Davies' way. It simply became another one of life's obstacles to overcome on his way to achieving his dream.
It was just after diagnosis that his mother and father reached out to Dskate to see if there might be space for a newly-diagnosed T1D hockey player? (There's always room for #t1dhockey players at Dskate!)
When asked how living with #diabetes had impacted his life, in 2016, a 12 year-old Josh noted, "It made me want to improve on my hockey."
Ever the hockey player, the future Swift Current Bronco forward added, "I can't just take food that I want now. I have to take needles. I have to count carbs. I have to carry a medical bag and have candy and juice to help me when I'm low. I always have to remember to carry my receiver and blood meter."
Tasked with carrying on towards his goal with this new burden on his back, Josh's parents wondered how #t1d would impact the young player as he grew?
"Will Joshua's reaction to exercise change as he grows up," Rosalind Davies asked. "Now, exercise spikes his sugars and he hits lows as soon as 1 hour after activity..!"
These are the thoughts and questions that run through the minds parents of young, growing athletes living Type 1. Learning to adjust, maneuver and manage the literal ups and downs of the disease on a daily (and nightly) basis is a taxing effort, not just on the T1D but the parents and family as well.
For Josh, with the support of family and friends, and a few Dskate programs under his belt, he embarked on his journey to the NHL, arriving at his destination as was selected by the Florida Panthers with the 186th overall pick in the 2022 NHL draft.
Light(n)ing the Way
Back in 2015 and 2016, as a young teenager attending Dskate, Josh Davies has the chance to meet Cory Conacher, a young #t1dhockey player who broke many a barrier en route to playing for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Cory, the friend and volunteer "face" of Dskate, has always made sure to give back when he has the chance. In attending Dskate programs for many years, Conacher has had the pleasure of meeting hundreds of Dskaters, all vying to achieve the milestones he has helped set in place.
At those camps in 2015/16, Josh and Cory had the chance to skate together, work on puck skills and talk shop, an experience many Dskaters have enjoyed.
The fun part is that, as of the Swift Current Broncos relegation from WHL playoff contention, Josh Davies has officially been called up to play for the Charlotte Checkers, an AHL affiliate of the Florida Panthers.
What's fun about that? The Charlotte Checkers also happens to be where Cory Conacher is currently playing.
Now, Josh and Cory will be teammates.
Cory, for his part, has enjoyed a storied career between the NHL, AHL and Europe, winning scoring titles, MVP honours and championships along the way to finding himself in his current role playing for Charlotte.
And even that story illustrates the obstacles Cory has had to overcome recently in recovering from injury to get back on the ice.
With Cory at the ready to take him under his wing, Josh's story of how he learned to manage his #diabetes in pursuit of his dream comes full circle as he looks to make his pro debut in the coming days alongside Conacher for the Checkers.