Sunday, October 16, 2011

Veteran WolfPack and Former Centennials Puck Chasers Loving Life:


This was posted on the Kamloops Daily News website last week:

October 13, 2011

By MARK HUNTER
Daily News Sports Reporter

Not once, during the TRU WolfPack's nine-hour bus ride to Cheney, Wash., last weekend, did a moment of doubt enter the minds of Cody Lockwood or Jassi Sangha.

Lockwood and Sangha are assistant captains with the WolfPack hockey team, which is 0-2 after losing twice to the host Eastern Washington Eagles. TRU is scheduled to play its first home game of the B.C. Intercollegiate league season against Trinity Western on Friday, 8:30 p.m., at Memorial Arena.

Long bus rides aren't new to Sangha or Lockwood, both of whom are 24 and have been riding buses back to their minor hockey days.

But one has to think that after years of travelling all over Western Canada, it gets old. Not at all, says Lockwood.

"A nine-hour ride is nothing," says the 6-foot-5 defenceman. "I've taken a bus from Kamloops to Prince Albert - that was . . . I can't even remember how long it was.

"You've got to get used to it if you want to play hockey . . . and I think road trips are fun overall."

Lockwood and Sangha, both products of the Kamloops Minor Hockey Association and former Storm teammates, are nearing the ends of their university careers. In the spring, Lockwood will graduate with a bachelor of arts in sociology, while Sangha is primed to get a degree in history.

Sangha said his goal "always has been to have a degree," and that he was attending TRU while playing for the junior B Storm from 2006-08.

That certainly helped him stand out amongst his Storm teammates, many of whom didn't pay much heed to the future. But now, more than three years after playing his last junior game, he's on track to graduate in the spring.

"When I came out of high school, I didn't want to go to university but my dad kind of made me," admits Sangha, a 5-foot-11 forward. "He said if I wanted to play hockey, I had to go to school. He told me if I didn't go, in three or four years, I would be behind. It was good advice."

It goes to show the difference between a university player and a junior player.

"In junior, you're just there to play hockey, working out every day, practising," Lockwood states. "Here, school's first - guys have to work, guys have to pay, guys have to live on their own."

Both guys expressed some relief to be firmly ensconced in Kamloops, after years of moving around.

Once finished minor hockey, Lockwood went on to play with the KIJHL's Sicamous Eagles, and made stops with the BCHL's Quesnel Millionaires, Alberni Valley Bulldogs and Merritt Centennials. He also spent time with the SJHL's Estevan Bruins before finishing with the Storm. He also played a season at the University of Southern Maine.

After playing major midget, Sangha ended up in Merritt, but came back to Kamloops to play for the Storm. He eventually hooked up with former Storm teammate Todd Stephenson, an Australian, and played a summer of hockey Down Under.

Lockwood said he wouldn't turn down an offer to play professionally, but he knows there's more to life than hockey.

"I want to be a police officer," he says. "I've applied once, and I have to apply again. That's what I want to do, it's what I've always wanted to do."

It's about education for Sangha too, and about getting to spend more time with some of his closest friends.

Sangha, Lockwood and David Gore, another WolfPack assistant captain, have been thick as thieves since they were in elementary school.

"I'm lucky. On every team I've played on, I've always had really close friends," Sangha says. "I knew Cody when I was six years old, we went to elementary school together. Dave, when I moved out here from Vancouver when I was five, the first friend I ever made was Dave Gore.

"It's funny how things work out."

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