Playing hockey nearly his entire life, one of Cody Hodgson’s career highlights includes winning gold at the World Junior Championships in 2009. Now a centre for the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, Hodgson tries to find as much down time as possible in the off-season to sneak away to his family cottage just outside of Haliburton. We caught up with him to find out how he likes to spend time in Ontario cottage country.
Cottage Life: You have a pretty strong connection to the Haiburton region…
Cody Hodgson: I’m from Haliburton originally, I was born there, but we moved to Markham when I was eight. Even then, we’ve always gone up to the lake. We pretty much lived there during the summer when we were kids. On the last day of school, we would have everything packed, mom would pick us up, and we would drive there as soon as classes were out. We wouldn’t come back until the day before school started up again.
CL: What about when you got older and more seriously involved in sports?
CH: Once I got older, into my teenage years, I would train up there. Then, when I started playing for the OHL, I would train in Markham, but I would still be at the cottage every weekend, so it has always been a big part of my life. I actually learned to skate on the cottage lake.
CL: Do you still make it up there regularly, now that you’ve started playing for teams outside of Ontario?
CH: I try to make it up there as much as possible, but obviously training down in the city six days a week takes up a good chunk of my time. This summer I’ve actually had a little more time off, so I’ve gone up for a week already by myself. It was just the dog and I. It’s always going to be a place that I go to relax and unwind, just get away from everything. Like I said, I was born up there, so I have a real special connection to the area. My grandparents both live up there and I have lots of family on the lake—aunts and uncles, cousins, basically the whole Hodgson clan.
CL: What kinds of things do you do up there when you’re alone?
CH: Well, my favourite spot is the hammock. I’ll lay down there just after breakfast and read for a bit.
CL: Anything being a professional athlete has stopped you from doing at the cottage?
CH: I used to love to waterski and tube, but you know, I can’t really do that anymore because that’s the kind of stuff where you can really injure yourself. I still go on the four-wheeler once in a while, but I guess I can’t jump off the rocks either. Everything is just a bit more laid-back now.
CL: Anything you do up at the cottage that helps you recharge for the next season?
CH: Just getting away from the routine of things really helps, though I do still play hockey quite a bit when I’m up there. I’ve actually set up a shooting station in the backyard. When I get up in the morning, I’ll go shoot pucks for a while. There’s also a hill behind the cottage that we can run up, so there are ways to stay in shape and stay within the game, even though there might not be a rink for miles.
CL: Lots of families have cottage traditions—what about yours?
CH: One thing we always do is get together for a fish fry. My brother Clayton has caught quite a few fish, so at the end of they day, we have a bunch of family members over and eat whatever my brother caught. I do some fishing as well, but I enjoy bass fishing and he likes fishing for trout, which is much better to eat.
Hodgson’s favourite spot at his cottage, the hammock.