Special to the Record
It’s a Saturday night at the Comox Valley Sports Centre, the Glacier Kings are lining up in their hallway, ready to take the ice as young hockey fans line up eagerly anticipating the chance to high five their local heroes.
This is a scene that has played out for the past 20 years. Just ask Glacier Kings defenceman Cody Eliason. It was only a few years ago that Cody was one of the young fans, imagining the day that his name would be stitched on the back of a jersey.
“It was a natural progression, to start playing hockey, both of my [older] brothers were pretty good hockey players, we didn’t really have enough money to put anyone in rep so both my brothers played house until one of my brothers was scoring, like, a hundred goals a game and so they moved him up to rep hockey.” Cody starts to chuckle as he adds, “He tried to make the Glacier Kings, but couldn’t. I try not to say too much, but it [sibling rivalry] is there.
“Both my older brothers are there for me. Neither of them lives in Courtenay anymore, but I get text messages after every game,” says Cody, when talking about growing up in a supportive family.
Hockey is more than a passion for Cody, who was let go from a job at a mill because he was taking too much time off to play hockey. This didn’t faze the young entrepreneur who decided to start his own business.
“I was without a job and I just thought to myself, I’ve cut firewood my whole life, with my Dad, so I decided to go buy a truck and started selling firewood.”
Hard to believe at just 18 years old, Cody finds time for hockey, running his own business, balance a social life, girlfriend and has aspirations of heading to school so he can one day own a large-scale business.
Part of the Glacier Kings’ pride that Cody carries on and off the ice came in handy for North Island division rivals the Campbell River Storm. One of the Storm’s support staff members Jami Harris, was grateful for Cody as her vehicle was stuck in the snow one night after the Storm had played the Glacier Kings. “I was meeting the team bus in Courtenay when I went into the snow bank at the Cumberland junction, Cody was the only person who stopped and he pulled me out of the ditch. He did this as our entire team watched. The bus pulled up as he was pulling me out.”
Cody smirks and says he was just paying Jami back. “A couple of seasons ago at try-outs I fought, got beat up pretty bad, and it was Jami that put my face back together, it was the least I could do.”
Got Wood Enterprises has come in handy for Cody’s teammates as well, when they need extra cash, Cody puts them to work.
This is just another example of the leadership seems to come naturally to Cody. “We had to remind ourselves that he wasn’t a veteran, he was such a leader,” said Bill Rotheisler, head coach of the Glacier Kings, looking back at training camp with Cody last September.
“He had an instant presence,” agreed assistant coach Mark McNaughton. “He’s a blue collar, physical hockey player. I think back to his first fight against Joe Chase [from the Oceanside Generals], and this is a 6’” 200-pound guy that Cody is going up against and Chase thought it was going to be a cake walk and Cody put a pretty good lickin’ on him. That was the point when I thought; this kid has some grit to him.”
“He’s got heart, he’s not just tough,” said Rotheisler. “He’s one of those guys that you don’t want to fight, not because he’s strong or hits the gym, but because he loves his teammates, he loves his team and you just are afraid that he wouldn’t quit. It’s not so much strength, it’s that you just realize he won’t stop until he wins.”
Cody would agree with his coach’s sentiments. “I carry Glacier King pride, and where it really comes from, I just try to amplify how much this team means to me and hopefully it gets through to the boys.”
Robyn Nicholson is the public relations director of the Comox Valley Glacier Kings