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Doom reflects on his journey.

It wasn’t too long after the St. Louis Scarecrows’ 6-5 loss to the Colorado Raptors to close out the S57 season that the team learned it would be facing the Kelowna Knights in the first round of the SMJHL playoffs. The next day, I headed out to the arena to grab some thoughts of the players where I was surprised to see leading scorer Xavier Doom on a bench outside of the arena. He looked a bit lost in thought, so I figured now was as good of a time as any to pick his brain on the season.

“Hey X, whatcha thinking about so deeply?”, I asked.


For Xavier Doom, ‘home’ is the country of Iceland. Doom entered the SMJHL Draft in S55, being touted as Iceland’s greatest hockey export. As a young teen, Xavier rewrote the record books in his own image, breaking just about every record in Icelandic hockey history. He became a bit of a countrywide sensation and was treated like a rock star there. Like any young person, this ended up going to his head. Doom has hockey in his blood. His father was none other than Gunnar Stahl, one of the most prolific players in Icelandic hockey history. He was best known for carrying the Icelandic team during the 1994 Junior Goodwill Games and was the tournament’s leading scorer. His triple deke was the stuff of legend, and while Team Iceland lost in the gold medal game to the Americans in a shootout (where Stahl was stopped by Julie Gaffney on the final shot), Stahl was still considered a hero at home.

As Doom’s star rose in Iceland, the comparisons to his father never ceased. Once he surpassed the records his dad once held (and a couple held by the Winnipeg Jets’ own Goku Muerto as well), Xavier got cocky. He wanted to write his own story, and that’s when the brash youngster changed his name legally from Stahl to Doom. Why?

“Because I was young, and it sounded pretty bad ass.”

Fair enough.

When it was announced that Doom would be going to North America for the SMJHL draft, he realized he would be bringing the hopes of his nation with him. Xavier did not want to disappoint them. He was widely rumored to be going first overall to the new Quebec franchise, however, they decided to select Zdenko Beranek instead. Doom and Beranek were friends, as both would transfer to Team USA to play internationally together. Doom would go 2nd overall to St. Louis.

“That was a little humbling of course. I was always a bit of a big fish in a small pond in Iceland, but it never occurred to me that teams would even consider someone to be better than I was before we even hit the ice. It drove me to have a better career than Beranek, a chip on my shoulder if you will.”

Things didn’t go well for Doom that first season. Stuck on the third line for the Crows, Doom would only score 14 points in minimal ice time. That would not suffice for him. He worked hard, but in his second season he would only muster 21 points. An improvement, yes, but not what he was expecting. After working even harder on his game before this season, Doom set some pretty lofty goals for himself.

“I wanted to be the MVP of the league, lead the league in scoring, and win the Four Star Cup. I wanted to prove that I can be the absolute best player in this league like I know that I could be.”

While St. Louis played very well in the preseason, it did NOT translate to regular season play for the Scarecrows. About a third of the way into the season, St. Louis found themselves last in the league, last in the power rankings, and last in goals scored. Doom wasn’t scoring at all, and the losses were piling up. Meanwhile, Beranek was leading the league in scoring. Naturally.

“It was so rough. We just weren’t clicking and then I see Z out there doing exactly what I trained so hard for. . . I was a mess internally. I did something I didn’t think I’d ever do.”

That “something”, for Doom, was asking St. Louis management for a trade.

“At the time, I felt I needed a fresh start. My teammates weren’t really keeping up with me, I was playing poorly, and I didn’t feel like I had a shot at the Four Star Cup. Being in the New Orleans system, with them trading away many older players, they told me that I’d more than likely be called up next season. So I wanted a better chance to win.”

St. Louis management wasn’t having it.

“They told me that they’re working on some new strategies, and that it was still early. Everyone makes the playoffs in the SMJHL, so we’d have a good shot by season’s end. I still didn’t love that answer, but I didn’t want to let everyone else down either.”

And then, Doom had what he called “a turning point” in his mentality.

“I called my dad. He told me that when he was my age, he felt the same way. Wanted to be the best player, got mad at teammates, etc. He said when I spoke to him, all he could hear was me being worried about myself, and not the team. That’s when it clicked. I knew something was different for me. I walked into the locker room and saw the guys training hard. I realized it’s not just about me.”

And clicked it did. In the second half of the season, Doom would be one of the J’s top players. He would amass over 40 points in the second half, and the Scarecrows, who were once thought of as fodder for the stronger teams in the league, started to pull off wins against Quebec (They went 3-3 against them this season), Anchorage, and a host of other teams. St. Louis fans couldn’t watch a game where Doom didn’t have a point, and he had a few long point streaks. The Crows were scoring goals and playing for each other.

Doom would have an extremely underrated season, that it seems the media is ignoring. He finished with 51 points, good enough for 15th overall in scoring, getting 19 goals and 32 assists. Doom was a complete terror on the Power Play, getting 27 points with the man advantage, good enough for 3rd in the league there. As good as Doom was on the offensive side of things, he may have been even better on the defensive side of things. Doom averaged 2:45 of penalty kill time a game, most for a forward in the J. He had 141 shot blocks, 4th in the league. That went along nicely with his 64 hits and 36 takeaways. Doom really made a name for himself as arguably the best two way forward in the league this season.

And now, St. Louis is in the playoffs against a Kelowna team that has many ties to Doom. His future teammates in New Orleans play for the Knights, which makes things a little bit more fun for everyone. Lining up against Vlastislav Malik, Cian McFelter, and Robert Feltersnatch means Doom knows there’s a tall task ahead.

“It’ll be great to play against those guys for sure. But they’re extremely talented. It’ll be a hard series for both teams, but hopefully we can pull it out.”

As of press time, the St. Louis Scarecrows currently lead the Knights 2-1 in their series, with Game 4 being tonight in St. Louis. Doom finds himself near the top of the leaderboard with 4 points in the 3 games already, and it looks like he’s going to continue his hot finish of the season into the playoffs, for however long that lasts.

(1319 Words)

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This is awesome!

Caw f’in Caw  Scarecrows

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01-13-2021, 04:23 PMUrq660 Wrote: This is awesome!

Caw f’in Caw  Scarecrows


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