Despite the penalties, Lockwood won’t change his game

Nathan Crosby, Sports Editor  Ω

After losing in the BICHL final to SFU last year, the WolfPack hockey team is looking for redemption and that starts with solid leadership.

Defenceman Cody Lockwood is returning for his third year on the WolfPack and is finding his place on the team as a role model for the players who are new to the college hockey circuit.

“When you’ve been there and some guys haven’t, you got to let them know what to expect and first things first is setting precedence right away in the dressing room; and then leading on the ice,” Lockwood said.

He will wear the “A” on his jersey this year and has set the bar high for himself and his teammates.

“You know what to expect. All these players in this league are BCHL, WHL, Junior A, Junior B hockey players.”

Lockwood is from Kamloops and played his midget hockey in the Memorial Arena where the WolfPack play. It was there where he suffered his first concussion after hitting his head on the penalty box stations that make the downtown arena unique.

He left Kamloops for the 2008-2009 season on a scholarship to the University of Southern Maine but returned the following year and has played for the ‘Pack since.

Physicality is a huge piece of his game and his coach relies on it to set the tone with his hard checks and fearless attitude.

With media attention surrounding Rule 48 in the NHL, which makes hits to the head illegal, Lockwood said it doesn’t change the way he plays.

“I like to play tough, and I like to play rough. I like to bang bodies. Is rule 48 in the back of my head every time I go to make a hit? Absolutely. I don’t want to get kicked out of every hockey game. I’m a leader on this team. I need to lead by example on and off the ice.”

It was on Sept. 16 at the Memorial Arena where Lockwood was given a game misconduct for a hit to the head on a smaller Okanangan College player.

“I’m six-foot-five. The game I got kicked out of last week, the guy was five-foot-six. I got a foot on him and I went to go hit him and he ducked,” he said, but adding he understands the seriousness of head injuries.

“The first body part you want to protect is your head; you don’t want your brain to be scrambled eggs.”

Lockwood rebounded the next week at home with a solid 60 minute outing ending in a 6-5 WolfPack exhibition loss to rival SFU.

Growing up, he says he modelled his game after the highly decorated Scott Niedermayer, and another one of the league’s best blue-liners, Shea Weber.

“He’s a big guy [with a] hard shot, and he likes to play the power play — that’s kind of what I try to do for this team,” Lockwood said of Weber.

Once school and hockey finish, Lockwood said he is focused on a different type of enforcing.

“I want to be a police officer. It’s been in my family forever. My dad is one, my stepmom is one; it’s something that has surrounded me my whole life.”

The WolfPack continues with their final pre-season games on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 in Calgary against SAIT.

Look for Lockwood to be a significant part of this team’s road to redemption this year.