Just a few short weeks after completing Grade 10, Mowachaht/Muchalaht’s 15-year-old Cody Savey has flown to Winnipeg to take part in a television show that promises to further develop his ice hockey skills as he pursues a WHL career.
Hit the Ice is an APTN reality television series that brings together 30 of Canada’s most promising young aboriginal hockey players for three weeks of intense training. The television shows provides a unique opportunity for Canada’s most promising young aboriginal hockey prospects.
“It’s a chance to make their mark, improve their skills, show off their talent to pro-level coaches, scouts and players … and take aim at that one dream,” said Producer Jason Brennan.
Hit the Ice started in 2012 and is now filming its sixth season with a new set of young aboriginal Canadian hockey players that includes Nuu-chah-nulth teen Cody Savey. “We take 30 of Canada’s top indigenous prospects and put them through NHL-calibre training,” said Brennan.
The players take part in two weeks of intense physical training and workshops that include nutrition education and team bonding exercises as they prepare for the show finale – the big game.
It is during the final game with a mystery team that the players receive their payoff. They’re not paid money for their efforts but they get a once in a lifetime chance to play in front of the discerning eyes of professional junior hockey scouts and the chance to be invited to junior hockey camps. This is an important stepping stone to the pros and a chance they might otherwise not get.
Savey has already played in junior hockey camps. On Feb. 13, 2017 he signed a Standard Player Agreement with the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League. He will be going to Seattle in August to continue his training.
Even so, Brennan says Cody Savey made the cut and will not be one of the players eliminated from the show on July 19.
Savey, who stands 6-1, weighing in at 210 pounds, is the youngest player in this season of Hit the Ice.
“He’s the youngest player and he needs some work, but with his size and age, he’s got a lot of potential,” Brennan told Ha-Shilth-Sa. “We will help him develop.”
Savey has already spent a week in training which he says has been hard.
“I am learning a lot, it’s lots of work and pretty hard but I am sure I can push through,” he said.
The training is intense and players get to work with former NHL players like coach John Chabot who played for the Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Redwings. In addition, guest coaches are brought in.
During season five of Hit the Ice, players worked with former NHL guest coaches, Gerard Gallant, Mark Stone, Ryan Garbutt and Cody McCormick.
Cody’s family couldn’t be with him in Winnipeg but they cheer for him at their Gold River home.
“Hard work pays off and Cody has been very lucky to have great coaches and a supportive group of family and friends,” said Cody’s mother Eva.
“He has sacrificed a lot to play for the love of the game
I miss him always but we also sacrifice our time with him so he can be successful,” she added.
Season six of Hit the Ice will premier in February 2018 on APTN. There is a Hit the Ice website that shows highlights of previous seasons.
Cody Savey will turn 16 later this month. His plans include heading back to training camp in Seattle in August, then return to school for Grade 11.