Cody Cartier’s road to professional hockey
A dream turned into reality
By Brendan Stasiewich, Sports Editor
There comes a time in nearly every young Canadian’s life when they must accept the inevitable, perhaps writing “hockey player” on that grade one “what do you want to be when you grow up?” questionnaire wasn’t exactly feasible.
However, for a very select few, usually the few willing to work their asses off day in and day out, dreams can be achieved.
While Mount Royal alumni Cody Cartier realized at a young age that the NHL was a little farfetched, he never doubted that someday he would have the job title of ‘hockey player.’
“My sole goal for hockey was to play in Europe and experience new culture,” said the former student/athlete who spent three seasons studying and playing at Mount Royal. “This could be my only season of professional hockey but after 22 years of playing the sport I love, I can officially say I have accomplished one of my lifelong goals.”
Hockey and the U.K… not exactly synonymous.
It’s hard to associate hockey with a place whose first line all-time team would consist of Owen Nolan, Ken Hodge and Steve Thomas. However, just because talents from across the pond haven’t yet made a mark in the NHL, it doesn’t mean there are not elite hockey players in the U.K.
Cartier started his career three years ago with the Cougars’ and quickly becoming a point per game player. In his second year he managed 39 points in just 28 games and became a fixture on the top line along side his friends Tyler Fiddler and Matthew Brown.
Though his final year with Mount Royal was shortened by injury, when in the lineup Cartier was one of the most dynamic players on the ice, and it came as a surprise to nobody when he got the call to play for the Manchester Storm of the U.K’s Elite Hockey League.
It may; however, come to the surprise of many that the notion of hockey not being popular in the U.K is false. Maybe we just can’t conceive that their love of football leaves any room for another sport. It even caught Cartier by surprise when he first saw thousands of fans at Storm games repping the team’s sweater.
“Each game we have around 2500-3000 fans, each wearing a jersey of their favourite player,” said Cartier, who lives just 10 minutes outside of Manchester’s city center. “Our rink sits 3000 people so it’s a very entertaining spot for the weekend. During games our fans have several chants that they sing, there’s never a silence of more then three minutes or so of play.”
“It’s fun to play in that type of atmosphere every weekend. In North America in between play you just hear the game, whereas here it’s nothing but fans screaming chants for their favourite team”
Cartier’s already been giving the fans something to cheer about. Quickly adjusting to the new style of play, the forward has already lit the lamp twice through the first four games of the season.
For Cartier, the on ice business was the easy part. As is the case for any student athlete, having to leave behind the school where they both competed and graduated can be a tough transition.
“My biggest initial struggle was when everyone was going back to school and the team was getting back together, those were the best years of my life,” said Cartier. “With professional players you’re literally fighting for your job. There were so many unforgettable moments during my college career.”
“Once you’re a Cougar, you’re always a Couger.”
He’ll always be a Cougar, but now he’s a Cougar who has screaming European fans with “Cartier” on their backs.