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Before I Made It: Troy Bodie

The Hockey News
By: The Hockey News
Nov 17, 2013

Author: The Hockey News

News

Before I Made It: Troy Bodie

The Hockey News
By: The Hockey News
Nov 17, 2013

The Maple Leafs winger talks about growing up in Manitoba, working for his dad, making the WHL and getting drafted into the NHL.

With Kevin Kennedy
First time I ever skated was pretty much right after I learned how to stand on my own two feet. My parents strapped on skates and flooded the front yard and that was it. I’ve seen photos of me pushing around a stool back in my hometown of High Bluff, Manitoba.

I think I got into hockey because my brother played, the neighbours all played, pretty much the whole town played. Where I’m from it’s all hockey, a little baseball I guess, but no football or basketball or anything like that.

My dad had a crop dusting business growing up and so I was kind of his hired help there. Just labor work; I fueled the planes, mixed chemicals, and he paid me pretty well. I always had some kind of job. I did a year-and-a-half stint at McDonalds when I was 15 in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. While I was in junior, I worked at a restaurant and did some bussing and serving, that kind of stuff.

My parents were always the type of people who gave me everything I needed, but not everything I wanted. If I really wanted something, my dad would always say, “well, there’s always a job here for ya.” If I wanted something, I had to work for it. It was a good life lesson.

When I was young, the Brandon Wheat Kings were like the coolest thing and if you made it to the WHL you were a local hero. That was the moon for us. Once I started seeing buddies getting drafted to the WHL, I was like “oh boy, I can take a run at this.” The NHL was so distant at that point.

I was drafted by the Kelowna Rockets in 2002 and I played with guys like Shea Weber, Blake Comeau and eventually Luke Schenn who joined the team when he was 15 and I was a 20-year old, so I kind of took him under my wing. We had a tight knit group of guys. I improved my game every year in junior and that was thanks to the Kelowna staff who never stopped pushing my development.

In particular the GM, Bruce Hamilton, always felt I would be a good player and always believed in me. I owe a lot to Bruce and also Lorne Frey, the head of scouting, they were great to me and when I was 17 I remember the coach didn’t really want to keep me on the team, but Bruce said “you’re keeping this kid.”

I was drafted by the Oilers in the ninth round and I had a slow start in that organization and eventually got picked up by the Anaheim Ducks.  That’s where I got my first shot in the NHL playing for Randy Carlyle. I remember the day I got called up I was down in Des Moines, Iowa with the Ducks’ farm team. The team was dealing with a ton of injuries; we literally had the first two lines of forwards go down. So I got the opportunity to play more and I took it upon myself to take the opportunity and run with it. I started playing better and then even more guys got hurt and some got traded. I figured I’d be the next one to go, but one day during practice I saw the coach talking to the GM just off the ice. I kind of looked at him and he looked at me and I immediately thought “oh boy, this could be it.” The next night I was in the lineup in Pittsburgh.

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Before I Made It: Troy Bodie