Wednesday, November 14, 2018

By Bethany Drysdale 

Las Vegas – Look around Las Vegas during the past year and you will see young kids as well as adults with Engelland, Schmidt, Karlsson or Tuch hockey jerseys. Our very own team with players we can see actively promoting the sport of hockey in the community. This is something UNLV Rebels captain Cody Williams dreamed about as a kid growing in Las Vegas and playing roller hockey. While other kids his age were playing basketball, football, baseball or soccer, Cody was on his roller blades with his stick and puck. His hard work and internal drive to be better paid off as he leads the Rebels nationally-ranked ice hockey team in goals and points.

At age 26 Cody is in his senior year at UNLV as a hospitality management major. His long-term goal is always play at a higher more competitive level in hockey. His journey to UNLV as a record point and goal scorer began in Las Vegas two decades ago when he first started skating on rollerblades. By age 15 it was clear his future in hockey was to make a transition from wheels to blades. When asked which coach or mentor helped him get to where he is today he responded “…there were so many coaches and teammates who taught me different things along the way. My best linemates early in my hockey career were Sean Murphy and Mark Miller.” He credits hockey coach Pat Ferschweiler from his 18AAA Russell Stover ice hockey team as being an influential mentor and has grown in his leadership role under the guidance of UNLV head coach Anthony Greener. Ferschweiler is now an assistant coach with the NHL Detroit Red Wings.

Come to any game at City National Arena when the UNLV Rebels are on the ice and you feel the excitement when number 9 Cody Williams takes the ice. Playing in front of his family and friends is a dream come true for the local star player who has become the face of the team in his senior year. His speed and agility on the ice is electrifying to watch. Size has never stopped Cody from making plays. He stands approximately the same height as NHL Hall of Famer Martin St. Louis, with a similiar style of play when the puck is on his stick. Currently Cody has 94 career goals according to the statistical folks at Elite Prosects, sitting just two goals behind coach Greener’s 96 career goals when he played for the Rebels and the season is only halfway done. With 83 goals and 177 total points Cody is well on his way of leaving a dominate legacy the future Rebels will try to reach.

On game nights Cody’s influence is felt not only on the ice with teammates, but his style of play is mimicked in our own living room.  My boys pretend to be Cody, scoring goals as they see him on television, celebrating  with arms and stick in the air. I asked Cody if he had ever thought about the young kids looking at him as a hometown hero. Humbled, he said that it made his day that the next generation of Vegas hockey players can see a local player like him do it, so can they. The strength of his game stands out in the ACHA Division 1 where he has 18 points scored this season. As the UNLV program progresses to make its way toward NCAA, the success Cody Williams brings to the team will benefit future Skatin’ Rebels.

Watch Cody and the UNLV Rebels in Chicago this weekend by following them on UNLV’s hockey twitter @UNLVRebelHockey where each game is broadcast live on You Tube.