David Levin's story is the stuff of Hollywood films. David Levin's story is the stuff of Hollywood films. David Levin's story is the stuff of Hollywood films. (Photo: Sudbury Wolves)

Top hockey prospect is an unlikely star

David Levin's story is ripe for a Hollywood retelling.

David Levin was the first pick in the 2015 Ontario Hockey League draft. He's drawing comparisons to "The Great One" – Wayne Gretzky – and is being touted as a top pick in the 2018 National Hockey League draft. All of this and he's only been playing competitive ice hockey for a little more than three years.

The OHL, one of three junior leagues in Canada, consists of players between the ages of 16 and 20 who aspire to make it to the pros. Historically the league has been dominated by Canadians, which makes Levin all the more rare. Levin actually grew up in Netanya, Israel, a city situated on the Mediterranean Sea, where surfing is more suited to the climate than skating on ice.

David Levin chases down an opponent during a game for his current team.David Levin chases down an opponent during a game for his current team. (Photo: Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Levin instead honed his skills playing inline hockey, eventually competing for the Israeli National Team. Showing promise, at 12 he persuaded his parents to let him move to the Toronto suburb of Richmond Hill to live with an aunt and uncle and play competitive ice hockey. He soon enrolled at a local school, Hill Academy, where his talent was immediately apparent.

“He was making passes other kids didn’t see, making passes into open space that hit his linemates in stride, just perfectly," Lindsay Hofford, the hockey director at the Hill Academy, told Sportsnet Canada.

Levin quickly began to make a name for himself. He joined the Don Mills Flyers, a local club, for the 2014-15 season, and dominated the competition, scoring 39 goals and serving up 41 assists in 55 games.

Then came the OHL draft, where the Sudbury Wolves, a team located not far from Richmond Hill, selected him first overall. “I had to find out the team name and see where [Sudbury] was on a map,” the Israeli phenom told Sportsnet Canada about being drafted by the team. In 29 games so far this year, the 16-year-old has six goals and 12 assists. More important, he's continued to impress those with a front row seat to the spectacle.

“It’s something that happens only in a Disney movie, something that you say just isn’t possible,” Hofford said. “There’s never been another case like it, coming as far as he did as fast as he did.”

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