NHL Prospect Dawson Mercer: Family, Hockey and the Draft

This season has been a whirlwind for Dawson Mercer.

He started in Drummondville and represented his country at the World Junior Championships. He was traded to a championship contender, and then with the stoppage of play in the CHL due to the coronavirus pandemic, everything came to a halt.

Dawson Mercer Drummondville Voltigeurs
Dawson Mercer of the Drummondville Voltigeurs (Drummondville Voltigeurs)

Despite the abrupt end to the season, he’s not holding anything in a negative light:

“It was a hectic and busy year,” Mercer said in an interview with the BTS Hockey Podcast on Thursday. “I enjoyed every bit of it. In the summertime, I worked really hard. I just wanted to make sure I got better week by week. I wanted to have a big year at Drummondville. Getting to the World Juniors was a big accomplishment. At the deadline, I got traded to Chicoutimi to make a run with them. Now with the CHL season being canceled, everything got put on hold. It’s a big stoppage of hockey and the whole world is put on pause. Everyone’s health and safety is most important. We will get through it all together.”

Family Helps Him Grow

Mercer, a native of Carbonear, NL is projected to be a top 15-17 pick by most outlets. He said that he’s doing his best to stay in the best shape he can, but he is also trying to spend valuable time with people he doesn’t get to see much during the season.

“I’m just trying to spend quality family time right now. (I am) staying low here in Newfoundland. I live in a small town, so I’m outside of the city. I’m using this time to build my game off the ice. Building strength here at the home gym.”

Mercer is a part of a big hockey family with two siblings who also play. None of them play the same position however; his brother is a goalie and his sister mans the blue line.

“Having two big events in the same summer with the NHL Draft and (my brother’s) QMJHL Draft are special moments that we will remember for a long time. I remember my draft day in the Q. It was a pretty special moment and I’m sure the NHL will be even more special. Hopefully he will be living out his dreams and following in my footsteps.”

World Junior Championships

Selected to represent Team Canada at the 2020 World Juniors, Mercer said he knew that few people had expected him to make the roster, and he was okay with that.

“I wasn’t surprised about it. I knew going in there were so many talented hockey players in Canada. Being one of the few guys invited to the selection camp, I believed in myself the whole way. Going in there I knew I had a chance to make the team. I made sure I did everything I could because I believed in myself and I really felt like I deserved to be there. I got to win the gold for Canada at the World Juniors. I’m really happy with that accomplishment.”

Mercer’s Game

Described consistently as a player with few holes in his game, Mercer said that he believes he can offer the team that drafts him a high hockey IQ and a strong work ethic.

“I use my hockey sense and IQ. I want to give it 100 percent, and that comes with my work ethic. I can be on the PP, I can be on the PK. I want to think that I’m a complete player. I can be chipping pucks or forechecking, and I can be the skilled hockey player (as well). That’s one thing that’s important about being a complete player. You can give different attributes to your team on a nightly basis.”

One of the best all-around players in this draft, Mercer said that he takes pride in playing that brand of hockey, and his favorite player to watch plays very much the same way:

“Patrice Bergeron, I feel like he has that all-around complete game. He does everything well and is such a smart player. He’s played for Canada many times, and has had an amazing career. He’s the only jersey I got as a kid too, and that’s the guy I like to watch the most.”

Patrice Bergeron Boston Bruins
Mercer models his game after Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Mercer laughed when asked how it goes over when he tells people his favourite player to watch is Bergeron, considering Mercer plays in Quebec and the rivalry between the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins is still running strong.

“The one thing that helps about Bergeron, is he’s a Quebec guy. Hopefully that turns the page a bit for the fans in Chicoutimi, hopefully that’ll make that all well.”

Would it go over well if he wore a Bergeron sweater to a game in Montreal?

“Uh, no. Even though he’s a french speaking guy, I don’t think it would go over too well if you were wearing a Bruins Jersey in the Bell Centre.”

Living Out the Dream

Mercer expresses gratitude for the lessons and appreciation of the sport he has gained from his family.

“We’ve been growing up and living [hockey] our whole life. It was never something we were forced to do, but we love it. We have the passion for the game. My dad played, now my brother, my sister and I all play it. It’s something we enjoy when we show up to the rink.

We like to show up and put in the work. Work in hockey doesn’t feel like actual work. It’s work that we love to do. You’re just enjoying your day if you show up to the rink or the ball hockey court. It’s the passion we live for and something we enjoy and are interested in. Hopefully, it’ll be our job one day and we make it our career. What other job would you love more than being a hockey player; living out a dream that you’ve had since you were a kid?”

YouTube player

His first dream of being drafted into the NHL isn’t too far away and Mercer wants to enjoy the ride.