Nuu-chah-nulth teen playing in Western Hockey League with Seattle franchise

Seattle, Wash.

Cody Savey successfully managed to crack the season-opening roster of the Seattle Thunderbirds.

But Savey, a 17-year-old forward who is a member of the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation, realizes he still has plenty of hard work ahead of him if he hopes to become a regular contributor for the Western Hockey League (WHL) club.

Savey, one of five right wingers the Thunderbirds are currently carrying, appeared in two of the club’s first five regular season outings this year. He was a healthy scratch in the three other matches.

Savey was then sidelined for two more games this past week as he was battling a cold. On Sunday, however, Savey said he is healthy once again and hoping to return to the Seattle lineup. The squad has three games scheduled this week, all against one of their Washington state rivals, the Tri-City Americans.

The Thunderbirds will host the Americans tonight and Saturday. And the Seattle squad will hit the road on Friday to square off against the Tri-City team at its home rink in Kennewick.

“Hopefully I’ll get into the games this week,” Savey said.

The Nuu-chah-nulth teen said he has some rather simple goals.

“I’m just trying to be the best player I can be,” he said. “And I’m trying to be as supportive as I can of the team.”

The 6-foot, 210-pounder, who relishes playing a physical brand of hockey, realizes ice time is something that he will have to earn.

“I’m a rookie and I just have to keep working hard for it,” he said.

Savey is thrilled he earned a roster spot with the Thunderbirds this season. Seattle is one of 22 clubs in the WHL.

The circuit is one of three Major Junior loops that comprise the Canadian Hockey League (CHL). The two others are the Ontario Hockey League and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

The CHL has long been considered one of the top talent suppliers for squads in the National Hockey League, so Savey is more than happy with where he is now.

“It makes me that much closer to the NHL,” he said. “That is still my ultimate goal.”

Savey, who will not turn 18 until next July, is eligible to be chosen in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.

Savey spent the majority of the 2017-18 campaign with the Campbell River Storm, who participate in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. He earned five points, including two goals, while also racking up 99 penalty minutes in 24 regular season matches.

Savey also suited up for one game with the Powell River Kings in the higher-caliber British Columbia Hockey League. And he also appeared in one WHL contest with the Thunderbirds.
Savey had made his WHL debut as a 15-year-old when he played two games with Seattle late during the 2016-17 season.

Though he was held pointless during his first two appearances with the Thunderbirds this season, Savey did get his name onto the gamesheet – for his physical play. He dropped his gloves in his first tilt against the Portland Winterhawks with his first fight.

Savey had three fighting majors last season. Though fisticuffs are not as common in hockey as they once were, Savey feels it is still a vital aspect.

“It gets the guys going,” he said. “I think it is still part of the game.”

Though he believes it was a fairly even tussle, Savey was a bit banged up following his first fight of the season. He required five stiches to close a gash that opened up near his left eyebrow.
Though not 100 per cent certain how he sustained the wound, Savey believes it might have been caused by his own helmet which was punched by his opponent.

Thunderbirds’ head coach Matt O’Dette said the organization is high on Savey even though he hasn’t played much yet this season.

“We like Cody,” he said. “He brings an element to the team that we like.”

That element is Savey’s aforementioned physical play.

“We like his physical play but he’s also got some skills to go along with that,” O’Dette said. “It’s a nice combination to have. And the opposition definitely knows when he’s on the ice.”

O’Dette added Savey has already earned himself a bit of a reputation around the league.

“He’s definitely willing, but not many opposition players are willing to tangle with him,” he said. “That is good because that gets him some more room when he is on the ice.”  

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