Dawson Mercer takes his game to Quebec
Bay Roberts native Dawson Mercer has produced steadily for the Tri Pen bantam Ice over the last two seasons. This year, the 15-year-old is getting a taste of prep school hockey at Bishop’s College in Sherbrooke, Quebec. He’s not alone on the mainland, getting to play on a team alongside his older cousin Zachary Bennett.
This September represented a big change for Dawson Mercer.
Not only was the 15-yearold Bay Roberts native heading into his first year at Bishop’s College School in Sherbrooke, Quebec, but it was going to the first season in a long time when his dad Craig, an outstanding athlete in his own right, was not going to be on the bench with him.
Suddenly, there were a couple of holes to fill, including the post- game analysis sessions between father and son on the ride home.
“When I was home, I’d always ask for his opinion on how I played,” Mercer told The Compass. “It’s a big change. He’s basically been coaching me since I can remember.”
Despite that, the over 2,000 kilometres between Bay Roberts and Sherbrooke is easily navigated with a cell phone and decent long distance package. Bishop’s games are sometimes streamed online, giving the folks back home easy access to Mercer and his teammates.
That’s when he gets some advice.
“I talk to ( my parents) every night and if they watch the games, I’ll always ask if he did,” he said. “He’ll always give me pointers and tell me things I can work on.”
Coming off a pair of outstanding seasons in the provincial bantam AAA league with the Tri Pen Ice — last season with the Tri Pen bantam Ice, Dawson had 68 points ( 42 goals, 26 assists) in just 24 games. In the playoffs, he added 10 points ( eight goals, two assists) in four games — it was time for Mercer to make the move to the mainland and get a better understanding of where he stands at this point in his career.
“I had to know I was making the right choice and everything,” he said of his decision to leave. “I think I made the right choice.”
So far, it’s been pretty good for the young player. The Bears just started their season in the Midwest Prep School Hockey League and in five games Mercer is al- most a point-a-game player registering four points (two goals, two assists) in those contests. Couple that with the pre-season games and he was 14 points in 23 games.
“I find the hockey good up here,” said Mercer. “The game is quicker and it puts you in the mindset that you just want to play.
“I’m enjoying it.”
Mercer’s game is predicated on creating space through a combination of skating and stickhandling. Nicknamed “The Matrix” back on the island, Mercer is as smooth a skater as he is at handling the puck.
This combination of skating and ability to control the puck allows him to bend time and space to his will as his nickname would suggest.
Mercer never appears out of control, usually dictating the speed of the game around him. It’s an innate understanding of his own abilities that puts him in spaces where he can succeed.
Making Mercer’s transition to Sherbrooke go smoothly was the presence of his older cousin, Zachary Bennett.
Bennett is in his second year with Bishop’s College and was sure to show Mercer the ropes at the prep school. This meant the easing in process of moving to a new school and meeting new people was a bit easier for the young athlete.
The cousins play on the varsity under- 18 team together and even room together in the dorms. The provincial flag hangs on their wall.
“( Zack) really made it more comfortable,” said Mercer. “Being in a room together, I’m moving in with someone that I’ve known my whole life.
“I’m enjoying it. I sort of fell into it right away and I never had any problems starting off.”
I’m enjoying it. I sort of fell into it right away and I never had any problems starting off. Dawson Mercer
Dawson Mercer (left) and his cousin Zachary Bennett play on the under-18 varsity team for Bishop’s College School.
Dawson Mercer is in his first year at Bishop’s College School in Sherbrooke, Que.