The forgotten Highlander Cody Hodgson is thriving in Buffalo with NHL’s Sabres

GAV ON SPORTS – TERRY GAVAN

Most of us know that Matt Duchene (The Haliburton Hurricane) and Cody Hodgson both started their careers at the old Dysart Barn.

We congratulate The Hurricane on his selection to the Olympic Team. Indeed… we congratulate the whole Duchene family, because guess who carried the skates and manned the highway patrol which allowed Matt Duchene to rise to prominence? That would be Dad and Mum Vince and Chris and of course sis Jessica who has had to put up her whole life with the following: “Duchene? Duchene? Are you related to Matt Duchene?! Holy cow are you lucky! Can you get me his autograph?”

And while Matty is preparing to take on the world, the other Haliburtonian playing in the NHL, Hodgson, has been fitting in quite well as a member of the Buffalo Sabres.

And that is testament to the whole Hodgson family and to Cody himself. Few of us really know what happened in Vancouver after the Canucks drafted Hodgson 10th overall in the 2008 draft. I know that he was mismanaged so badly that there were fear that he might never recover his confidence or mobility. The mobility concerns a back injury that Vancouver management later announced had been on them. They admitted that doctors had not done enough to make sure that their player was fit. It’s a long story.

But rest assured that Hodgson did not Diva it up. He went to work. This is a player who won a gold medal and was named the best player in the junior ranks with the Brampton Battalion. He played there with? Matt Duchene. Hodgson went to work at a high performance clinic. Essentially doing the diligence that would repair his back and make him a step or two quicker on the ice. Hard work. New diet.

He did everything necessary to equip himself for the constant grind that is today’s NHL.

And he landed, thankfully, in a good place. Buffalo is close to Toronto where his family resides. In his last five games Hodgson is averaging a point per. He has a gamewinner and always seems to be in the thick of it. Hodgson does not possess the foot speed of his buddy Matt Duchene. But, truthfully, who does. (We can throw a little credit to genes and dad Vince’s philosophy about constant foot movement, easy on the glide Clyde.)

Cody Hodgson is a well-rounded player and his versatility is non-pareil. He proved that at the Canadian Junior’s gold medal season when he led the Canadian team in scoring. Yes, Jon Tavares was on that team. He’s also got a serious case of the smarts. He was named the OHL’s biggest noggin during his tenure with the Battalion.

He’s got 10 goals and 13 assists in 36 games this season. Respectable. But more than that he has been a force on the power play. ┬áHe is strong in both ends and will be leaned on heavily for his leadership in Buffalo this season.

So nice to hear that after all those trials and errors in Vancouver that Hodgson is settling in in Buffalo. Of course the one downside to playing for Buffalo?

Is Buffalo. As NHL cities go? It ain’t L.A.

But he’s close to family and out of the circus atmosphere that is and will remain Vancouver. And he is probably counting his lucky stars that he didn’t wind up with John Tortorella. Torts might have ended his career. Kidding here. Tortorella is a great coach, but honestly? Who would want to play for him?

So this is a little paean to that other Haliburton born NHL player.

And to Dysart, who refused to build a new arena last year?

Could we get a do over on Duchene’s and Hodgson’s likenesses (barely) on the wall of the old barn. Cos’ it honestly looks like it’s going to be there for another 50 years.

Seriously.

Can we get an amen for some term limits on council.

Congrats Cody and Matt.

And watch the Olympics at McKecks.