For such a small community, Woolwich has always had a disproportionately great presence in the hockey world. This year, continuing on that tradition is 17-year-old Elmira native Jacob Code, who was drafted in the second round of the OHL under-18 priority selection. The young player will have the opportunity to represent his home town with the Niagara Ice Dogs.
“It was nice to have the hard work pay off, and obviously there’s a lot of sacrifices that not only your family makes but the people around you,” said Code of being drafted. “To kind of have that validate all the hard work and sacrifices that you’ve had to go through, it was nice.”
Code, a right-winger with the Waterloo Wolves AAA major midget team, has already had a notable career on the ice in both Waterloo and Woolwich. Code originally played for the Woolwich Wildcats until minor peewee before transitioning to the Waterloo’s major peewee team. This past season, he was one of the key members on the major midget AAA team, helping take them all the way to the 2018 Central Region midget AAA championships, where they earned the bronze medal.
“It was great,” he said. “I was put in a pretty large leadership role which I felt I was able to excel at, and given that opportunity with some older guys. It was nice to have that experience. It encouraged the growth of me as a player but also as a person as well.”
Code is happy to represent Elmira on the OHL stage, noting how the small town has increasingly become an incubator for exceptional talent.
“We’ve had a lot of good successes, Elmira’s community, with hockey players growing up and doing great things,” said Code. “And it looks like the future is going to hold even better players then what we have now as, every year, there seems to be that there’s more players playing AAA and getting drafted and being recognized for their awesome hockey skills and for being good people as well.”
Some of that might very well be thanks to Code himself. Besides honing his own talent, the youth has given considerable time to training the next generation of players at the Woolwich Hockey Academy, which is run by his father, Tony Code. The academy offers programs in skill development and a number of camps and training sessions for Woolwich Minor Hockey.
“It’s been awesome being able to be involved with that and kind of give back to the community and help evolve and develop the players into hopefully becoming better players, and playing further on in their careers,” said the younger Code.
With his time spent on the ice, either playing a premium game or passing on his experience to the younger players, it’s fair to say Code has been pratically living, eating and breathing hockey.
“Yeah, we’re a pretty hockey-orientated family,” said Code with a laugh.
He’ll soon be heading to tryouts. But whether or not he makes it, he’s happy just to be considered by the team.
“I know that they’re a very well-off organization, they’ve had some good success over the years and are going to continue to have good success in the upcoming years as well. I’ve heard nothing but good things so I’m looking forward to getting there and meeting everyone involved with them,” he said.
Of the 53 players chosen in the OHL draft, three were picked from the major midget Wolves. Besides Code, goalie Riley McCabe was selected in the first round by the London Jr. Knights, and defenseman David Mabey in the third round by the Guelph Storm.