Cody Hess’ hockey career is taking him away from home a little earlier than expected.
The high school junior has been given the opportunity to play Junior A, Tier III hockey with the Boston Junior Blackhawks, and Hess will spend nine months away from his Decatur home.
Hess, who went to school at Bellmont, got the opportunity to play Junior hockey after he went to a showcase in Michigan. He signed his contract to play with the Blackhawks on July 1.
“They scouted me there, and then they called me two weeks after the showcase and asked if I would like to come up there and skate with them, and I said I did,” he said.
Hess has to report to the Blackhawks by Aug. 15, and it is around that time that he will meet his host family with whom he’ll be spending the next nine months (as well as going to high school in Boston.)
Hess said the competition among the 17- to 20-year-olds will be a big step up from his playing days with the North Side High School team which he has done for the past two years. Junior A hockey is one of the top levels of amateur developmental hockey in North America. There are three tiers in Junior A with Tier I being the most elite level.
“It is getting ready for college,” he said. “It is right under semipro.”
A college hockey scholarship is exactly what Hess indicated he would like to get.
“I am looking to get a hockey scholarship out of it,” he said. “I have always wanted to play for a Division I or Division II school.”
The forward/center has been playing hockey for more than a decade, shortly after moving to the area from Florida.
“There were no sports to play when I was young, and I loved sports,” he said. “My dad saw a sign that I could play hockey at The Rage. They went there and asked if I could play, and they said I was too young to play. But they were going to make an exception and let me play anyway. I ended up playing there and playing roller hockey.
“(Komets player) Guy Dupuis used to run a camp when I was 6 years old, and he told me I should try to play ice hockey, so I went up to McMillen and tried out for a team. It went from there.”
Hess had 31 goals and 17 assists last season for the Redskins. As well as playing for North Side, Hess has also been playing travel hockey with the Komets’ midget teams for years.
Before reporting to the Blackhawks, Hess said he has been busy practicing with area high school teams and attending open skates, as well as raising the $6,500 that is needed for his trip and stay in Boston.