On the ice, Todd Davison played the game of hockey with a big heart, tremendous speed and selfless spirit, never letting bigger players run him down. A talented and gifted player with expectations of playing in the NHL, Todd’s dream was shattered just days after his graduation in June, 2004 from St. Paul’s High School. A biopsy performed on his left shoulder abruptly introduced him to his newest adversary – Synovial Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that attacked the tissues surrounding his joint.
Following months of extensive radiation and chemotherapy, Todd underwent major surgery on his shoulder in March, 2005, removing the tumor, but leaving him with limited mobility of his left arm, effectively ending his hockey career.
From early on in minor hockey, Todd’s natural talent, skills and passion for the game, were obvious to all. A diminutive forward with a feisty spirit, Todd’s unique and endearing character also saw him share the puck and make others around him better. Leading his teams in scoring throughout his career, Todd went on to play with both the Lloydminster Blazers of the Alberta Junior A Hockey League and the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League - playing alongside future NHLers Colton Orr (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Josh Harding (Minnesota Wild).
Todd also represented Manitoba in many provincial and “all-star” tournaments throughout his minor hockey years, including the “Canada Winter Games” in 2003, where he faced off as a 16-year-old against Sidney Crosby of Team Nova Scotia.
With the knowledge that his dream of playing in the NHL would no longer be realized, Todd found inspiration in the likes of professional athletes, Lance Armstrong, Mario Lemieux and former Blue Bomber GM, Lyle Bauer (themselves, cancer survivors), whose efforts helped bring focus to the fight against cancer and provide hope and inspiration for thousands across North America. In the spring of 2006, after returning from an inspirational conference presentation in Vancouver by Lance Armstrong, Todd uncovered his new found purpose and passion. He would take his trademark drive and determination and apply it to helping young victims and survivors with cancer, through a newly formed Foundation – “Believe in the Goal.”
Through Todd’s rise as a talented Manitoba-born junior hockey star, he regularly played against the likes of local home-grown NHLers - Travis Zajac (New Jersey Devils), Colton Orr (Toronto Maple Leafs), Nigel Dawes (Calgary Flames), Cam Barker (Minnesota Wild), Mike Richards (Philadelphia Flyers), Jordin Tootoo and Dustin Boyd (Nashville Predators), among others. As a result of Todd’s very personable nature and character, these friends have become loyal supporters of “Believe,” well past Todd’s own passing on December 2, 2006.
With the regular support and participation of these and many other local professional players, our two premier events; the Superstar Summer Showdown hockey game and Invitational golf tournament have gone on to become phenomenal mid-summer entertainment attractions and annual fund-raising events.
The hockey community near and far has supported Todd’s vision and dream in a “BIG” way. We count among our loyal friends and supporters, Mr. Mark Chipman, owner of the Manitoba Moose who has made it possible for us to host our Superstar hockey showdown at the MTS Iceplex. Mr. Chipman’s participation and positive support for our cause would bring a very big smile to our Founder’s face.
Todd called the cancer in his shoulder “the biggest challenge he ever faced.” Today, his many friends, family and legion of supporters in Manitoba’s vibrant hockey community carry on his legacy through the spirit of “Believe.” Todd’s goal was to help bring an element of hope and joy into the lives of all those affected by the disease that eventually took his life. Through NHL Experience getaways, Believe Blankets, and a Capital Fund dedicated to special projects to enhance patient care, TD 34’s passion and dream lives on in the hearts and minds of Believe supporters and volunteers everywhere.