Although Cody Hodgson’s NHL career ended much sooner than he’d hoped, his love for the game he first played as a boy in Haliburton, Ont., is as strong as it’s ever been.
Hodgson retired from pro hockey last fall when he was just 26 years old following several disappointing seasons.
The once highly touted prospect, who went 10th overall in the 2008 draft to the Vancouver Canucks, simply couldn’t play at the level he once had.
Through those final years in his short career, he suffered from shortness of breath, blackouts and heart arrhythmia. Sometimes his body would shake for no apparent reason. He was tested for a wide range of ailments, including brain and lung cancer.
Finally, after what would be his final NHL season with the Nashville Predators, he underwent a muscle biopsy and was subsequently diagnosed with malignant hyperthermia, a genetic disorder that can be triggered by prolonged physical activity.
With the diagnoses, doctors told Hodgkin that his career was over.
“It’s upsetting,” Hodgson says now. “But I was fortunate to play at all.”
Still, his ailment has been difficult to process. Hodgson grew up in the quintessential hockey family in Haliburton, surrounded by lakes and trees and old NHL vets. When he was about five years old, he met Matt Duchene — another local kid — and the duo started their rise towards the NHL together, playing for the Huskies at the old Haliburton Arena downtown, where his father and grandfather had played before him.
Hodgson’s family eventually moved to Markham when he was eight, but kept a cottage in Haliburton, where generations on both his parents’ sides had laid their roots. He spent his summers there, where he continued to play …read more