Conflicted Scars: An Average Player's Journey to the NHL

Davis, Justin

  • An indispensable guide to parents of hockey hopefuls

    At a time of great change in hockey, Justin Davis exposes the dark underbelly of the journey from the minors to the big leagues

    Hockey culture: it’s a commonly used phrase inside the game, glorifying sacrifice, toughness, loyalty, and a sense of identity. Justin Davis viewed this culture as something he was lucky enough to experience. After all, he’d won a Memorial Cup after leading the tournament in scoring, and he’d been drafted by the Washington Capitals. “In my mind,” he says, “I was the normal one.” Unfortunately, after stepping outside the game, he began to recognize the racism, sexual abuse and bullying that was so deeply ingrained in the sport. And then, as his own children grew into teenagers, the curtain was pulled back, the memories came rushing forward, and he was horrified: “Why was I naked in a bus bathroom for four hours with seven teammates? What happened to my brain, and why can’t I remember the simplest things? How did I end up living in a basement where the strangers upstairs were clearly engaged in domestic abuse?”

    As it navigates the sport’s darkest corridors, Conflicted Scars shares the story of the common Canadian player and offers a guide for parents who need to know how and why a typical teenager with NHL dreams, from a small town, now lives anxiously, introvertedly, and battling emotional detachment.


    Price may vary by retailer

    Check availability at your local Canadian independent bookstore:

    Remember that most stores can easily order books they don’t currently have in stock.


  • A married father of three from Guelph, ON, Justin Davis led the 1999 Memorial Cup in scoring and went on to Western University, where he was part of the 2002 University Cup–winning team. After a two-year stint playing professionally in Germany, Justin retired from hockey and is currently a player mentor and chapel leader with the OHL’s Guelph Storm.

  • Published: October 2022

    ISBN: 9781770416239

    Dimensions: 6 x 9 in.

    Pages: 208

← Previous Product Next Product →


“[A] very powerful, raw memoir calling into question many aspects of a hockey culture that glorifies sacrifice, toughness, and loyalty.” — Library Journal

“I loved playing in the OHL, the second-best league in the world, and I have loved my life in the NHL. Justin’s book should be on the shelf of every hockey parent. He has some amazing stories … and every former player will vouch for them. Canada loves hockey, and rightly so, but we have to make sure the kids come first. I am glad my friend wrote this book.” — Joe Thornton, 22-year NHL veteran and Hart Memorial and Art Ross Trophy winner

“Justin Davis blows the doors off all your assumptions about Junior hockey. He courageously reevaluates the toxic culture he was part of and what was considered to be normal rites of passage and team-bonding by everyone involved in the sport. Conflicted Scars is essential reading for all hockey fans and an important contribution in exposing the dark underbelly of the game that has been kept secret for far too long.” — Allan Walsh, Player Agent

“In hockey, we celebrate the stories of the stars that play the game and glorify the scars that come with it. This book uncovers the internal scars players face long-term and their struggles to figure out right and wrong. Justin Davis has lived and breathed the game and its many nuances and contradictions. He beautifully captures why the sport leaves so many with those conflicted scars.” — James Duthie, award-winning host of TSN Hockey and bestselling author of The Guy on the Left

“This is a deeply introspective, brutally honest memoir and a stark exposé of a part of hockey that remained hidden for far too long.” — Booklist

“Justin Davis shows us that hockey is a lot like life. It can be glorious. It can be painful. You can fall in love one moment and be heartbroken the next. This book is a must-read for anyone who ever dreamed of playing in the NHL, or perhaps more importantly, for any parent who is dreaming that their child could be ‘The Next One.’” — Ken Reid, Sportsnet Central Host and best-selling author of Hockey Card Stories

“Honest, sometimes uncomfortable storytelling that makes this a must-read for every parent whose child is chasing the all-too-familiar dream of becoming a professional hockey player. Multiple Are you kidding me? moments. I couldn’t put it down.” — Rick Westhead, Senior Correspondent at TSN Sports and CTV National News

Conflicted Scars, then, is something of a therapy session — someone’s attempt to sort out ‘how did I get here?’ There’s plenty to unpack here, and it might take others to figure out what happened to people like Davis and what to do about it.” — Sports Book Review Center blog