Head southeast out of Saskatoon towards Regina on Highway 11 and you’ll
pass the small farming town of Davidson about 104 kilometres into your
Coming into town, you’ll see the world’s largest coffee pot that’s symbolic
of the town’s hospitality and reputation as the traditional midway point
between the province’s two largest cities.
All the amenities you’d expect to see in a small-town Saskatchewan pitstop,
including the gas stations, Tim Hortons and local restaurants, sit on the
south side of town where the Louis Riel Trail continues on for the next 146
kilometres until you reach the Queen City.
Despite its regular stream of through traffic along the well-travelled
highway, the residents that occupy the homes and surrounding farms of
Davidson – including National Men’s Under-18 Team defenceman Nolan Allan,
siblings Blake, Evhan, Kacie and Rylyn, and parents Kim and Kelly – are
well-accustomed to their neighbours from their frequent interactions around
town at places like the recreation centre or the community market.
“We have a family farm about 20 minutes outside of town,” Allan says. “We
fit right in.”
The 18-year-old (his birthday is Wednesday) is one of eight blueliners to
earn the call to represent Canada at the 2021 IIHF U18 World Championship,
and the lone representative from The Land of the Living Skies.
“The town is around a thousand people and a real tight-knit community.
Everybody knows each other,” Allan adds. “I’ve had the same friends since I
was four years old going to kindergarten. You grow up together and play all
the sports together.”
It may be a small highway town situated in rural south-central
Saskatchewan, but Davidson has served as a crucial junction in providing
the roadmap for the Prince Albert Raiders rearguard to showcase himself at
the U18 worlds before the all-important 2021 NHL Draft this summer.
The local rink, part of a larger recreation complex now named the Davidson
AGT Centre, bears an unconscious familiarity to the many other small
community facilities scattered across Western Canada. Advertisements for
farms, construction companies and commercial services adorn the walls above
the benches that sit opposite the one-sided grey bleachers that loom over
the large Olympic-sized ice surface. The lobby wraps the boards on both
sides up to the goal line, and the chairs flush with the glass on the side
safe from body checks and flying pucks couldn’t get you any closer.
Allan remembers starting to skate at the age of four at the rink with his
parents and older brother Blake, who played against him as a member of the
Regina Pats during the 2019-20 WHL season before joining the Calgary Hitmen
With plenty of access to recreational opportunities in Davidson – dubbed a
‘Community in Motion’ – Allan became a regular at public skates between the
end of the school day and the start of minor hockey practice as part of
Davidson Minor Hockey.
Today, he relies on his steady defensive game, moving through transition
with a smart first pass and strong mobility for his 6-foot-2, 195-pound
frame – elements of his game he attributes to all that extra time in
between school and practice spent at the rink.
“Every day after school there was free ice up until five o’clock, and
that’s when practice started,” Allan says. “It was a public skate and
anyone could go out there. We’d take pucks and pretty much do whatever we
wanted, so it was pretty nice to have that time to skate and work on things
whenever you needed it.”
When Allan made inroads into U15 hockey and joined the Humboldt AA Broncos,
he became reliant on those highways and his selfless parents sacrificing
countless hours driving the 163 kilometres to practices and games.
“It was an hour-and-a-half drive one way there, so I was pretty reliant on
my parents driving me,” Allan says. “We’d have to leave right after school
and wouldn’t get back until around midnight, so it was a pretty tough
There would, however, be respite for Kim and Kelly the following season.
“My second year, we had a few guys from around Davidson make the team as
well. We were able to carpool that year, so that was a big relief.”
Allan was a dominant force offensively during his second season in Humboldt
and performed nearly at a point-per-game pace from the blueline the
following year with the Saskatoon U18 AAA Blazers (12 goals, 35 points in
39 games) to earn SMAAAHL Top Defenceman honours after being selected third
overall by Prince Albert in 2018.
With less time spent driving two skilled sons around Saskatchewan, parents
Kim and Kelly could devote more time to deciding how to cheer for both of
them in games between the Raiders and Hitmen during Nolan’s rookie WHL
“Playing against my brother for the first time in the WHL was kind of
weird,” Allan says. “We grew up playing with each other up until [U15] when
he left for there, so it was odd being on the other side of the ice against
“I think my parents might’ve been more confused than either of us for who
to cheer for there. They find ways to cheer for both of us.”
All roads now for Allan lead to Texas and his role patrolling the blueline
to secure a gold medal for his country alongside talented teammates that
share similar journeys from community rinks.
A good showing for defenceman and country can help translate to a higher
NHL draft stock; Allan had a ‘B’ rating from Central Scouting in its most
recent Players to Watch list, meaning he is a candidate to be selected
within the first three rounds.
“It’s Team Canada, so it’s always going to be a talented roster,” he says.
“We expect to win of course, as we do every year, so we’re just hoping to
gel together and come out on top.”