Cody Sylvester realized he was one of the lucky ones.
Not very many people get to play five years in the WHL, let alone stay with one organization the entire time.
So during the last off-season, following an important campaign where he was named captain of the prized franchise, he thought of ways to give back to the community he’s fallen in love with.
“My mom’s boyfriend and I were hanging out and I was thinking since I’ve been here for five years, I should give back to the community,” relayed Sylvester.
And the resulting idea was called Chance To Play, a Sylvester-driven iniative to help raise money for under-privileged kids who couldn’t otherwise have a chance to play minor hockey in Calgary.
Just by selling t-shirts at $20 a pop, he’s managed around $4,000 so far this year.
“I’d like to get it up to $8,000 but whatever I raise will help the kids and whatever I can raise will help them in anyway possible, I’d be happy about that,” he said.
“It’s definitely been a learning curve but I’ve had a lot of fun with it.
“If I don’t reach that goal, I’m sure any money that I raise will help.”
Hitmen bench boss Mike Williamson said it shows what type of person Sylvester is by doing this.
“As far as community involvement, he’s always been a volunteer for different things,” Williamson opined. “He likes giving back to the community and you can see that he’s taken another level this season with the initiative that he’s started.
“For a 20-year-old young man to take that upon himself to set up a program and raise funds to such a great cause, I think that speaks volumes about his character and what type of person he is.”
The Vernon B.C. native became a Hitmen member back in 2007 when he was selected in the eighth round, 168th overall in the Bantam Draft.
He was on the WHL Championship team in 2010, where he contributed 25 points in 68 games as a 17-year-old. However, it wasn’t until his fourth season where he became a driving force on the offensive side, averaging over a point-per-game in 66 games last year.
And he’s exploded as a 20-year-old, centering the top line while setting a career high in goals with 28, and nearing career years in points and assists. In total, he’s played 298 games, totaling 84 goals, 116 assists and 200 points. He’s sixth all-time in games played, 11th in goals and 10th in both assists and points.
Easy to say, he’s one of the most complete players to don the black, red, white and bronze.
“I’m honoured to play in one of the best organizations of the league and I’ve been treated exceptionally well,” he said. “We have the best fans in the league and it’s coming to an end. It’s going to be sad to leave but I definitely had a lot of fun.”
For more information about Chance to Play, check out http://www.hitmenhockey.com/page/chance-to-play