Friday, March 11, 2011

A Reputation to Hold

A team is made up of many types of players. Goal scorers, grinders, shut down defensemen, high energy guys and perhaps the most controversial role of the agitator. Opposing teams and fans hate them; home town crowds love them.

Cody Beach has earned his stripes as the Warriors best player to get in the oppositions heads. With over 232 PIM’s this season alone, Cody has already shattered last year’s total of 157. Fans may remember the great Rob Trumbley, Rob holds the Warrior records for most PIM’s in a season with 342 in 92-93. His career total was a whopping 866.

Fan Love
Rob and Cody clearly play a different style of game but both know about spending time in the sin bin. Did Warrior fans love Rob? Of course they did. Do fans in Moose Jaw love Cody Beach? They absolutely do. Will every fan love these type of players—probably not.

According to former Warriors broadcaster Rob Carnie, Rob Trumbley was one of the best fighter’s in the league and just one dirty player in his time. Rob didn’t go looking for trouble, but was always ready to go. Carnie believes Beach may be more comparable to former Warriors like Shawn Limpright and Sean O’Connor who fit the agitator description. O’Connor had 193 PIM’s in 2000/01 and was known for his antics. Both players are still playing professional hockey today.

Beach not only has made a statement with his 6’6 frame but also with his scoring numbers. Beach sits in 5th position in the Warriors scoring race. With 37 assists; 13 of them on the power play, Cody Beach has totalled 48 points this season. In 55 games for the tribe, Beach has 31 of his points in the red and white. Cody had just 14 points last season with the Hitmen. Of course, with more experience under his belt coming into this season his offense has increased and it seems he has found a good place in the Moose Jaw line up. “The thing about Cody is that along with his reputation, which is warranted, comes a big body packed with skill, speed and great vision,” said Warriors Radio Broadcaster James Gallo. “Sometimes people forget just how much skill he has. He opens up room out there for his team mates, like Howden and Svendsen and can make passes that most people can’t,” added Gallo.

Cody believes his heightened scoring is a testament to the new surroundings. “I credit my success to my line mates and the structure put in place by coach Hunchak and the opportunities the coaching staff have given me,” remarked Cody. “Coming from Calgary, Cody became one of our top six forwards and is getting those top minutes,” commented Dave Hunchak on Cody’s point totals with the tribe. “He brings size and offense—and of course the agitation factor,” he said. “When he is on his game he brings so much to the ice. Our job is to bring all of his attributes out as a full package,” added Dave.

Brotherly Love
Cody’s size and skill have not gone unnoticed by the NHL scouts. Cody was drafted last season by the St. Louis Blues in the 5th round. It’s quite clear hockey runs in the Beach blood. Cody’s older brother Kyle finished his WHL career in Spokane last season. Drafted 11th overall in 2008, Kyle like Cody racked up some time in the penalty box. One hundred and eighty six minutes to be exact.

A Reputation to Hold
Cody was recently named the most “irritating player” in the Eastern Conference through a poll of GM’s, Coaches and Players in Eastern Conference and compiled by Bruce Luebke, the voice of the Brandon Wheat Kings. Cody’s thoughts on the title? “It’s good to know that teams know I’m in the game night in and night out, even if it’s on the score sheet or in their heads,” said Beach. “Cody’s reputation is well deserved, but each and every night you know where he is on the ice. When he is able to get others of their game, Cody’s at his best,” added Gallo.

It’s Not Easy
In hockey everyone has a favourite player. Most times it is the top scorer or the goal tender. Rarely do people dislike a goal tender or a top scorer. But what would be like to be that “token” agitator? Is it easy to be talked about and continuously scrutinized? “It’s never easy. People judge you left, right and center—from players to fans and referees but it is just something that comes with the play,” commented Beach.

If you ask a young Moose Jaw Warriors fan, they will tell you that Cody Beach never misses a high five coming on or off the ice and always has time for a picture or autograph. An ear to ear grin every time he jokes with the Warriors security before taking to the ice for warm ups shows his lighter side.

It Takes All Kinds
When it comes down to it, Cody Beach is an 18 year old hockey player. He plays the game he loves. Perhaps some people forget he is a just a teenager. He has made it to the WHL and perhaps some day the NHL on his hockey talent. The WHL and NHL need all types of players. Former Warriors Theoren Fleury, although lacking in stature was one of the most agitating players in the NHL… paired with his scoring talent Theo used his ability to get under the other teams skin as an advantage on the ice. “Theo thrived off being a “villain” in Regina—he loved to be hated and it worked for him,” commented James Gallo on Theo’s ability to get noticed.

Warrior’s fans will have the luxury of seeing Cody Beach come into his own in the Jaw. Some of his goals scored for the tribe this year have been highlight reel worthy and his talent is undeniable. Whether it is his glove dropping fights or his crowd encouraging gestures, Cody Beach is one to watch when he takes the ice.

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