After a great season that included an exhilarating run to the Conference Finals, Senators Defenceman Cody Ceci is ready for the dog days of summer-which he plans on spending at his cottage just outside The Capital.
Faces Magazine: The 2016-2017 Stanley Cup playoffs will be one that is long-remembered in Ottawa as one of the most exciting times in Senators history. Can you describe what the ride was like for you as a player?
Cody Ceci: The ride was amazing; I’ve never been a part of anything like that before in my life. Getting that far and seeing the city come together as they did was very special. It was something thatI won’t forget for the rest of my life, and I’m so happy I could be a part of it.
When you look back at the playoffs, what would you say is the moment that you will remember the most?
I’ll never forget winning the first series against Boston. For a lot of us, it was the first time winning a series. One of the best moments for me was having MacArthur come back from missing the entire season with a concussion and scoring the game winner.
The majority of so-called ‘hockey experts’ picked the Sens to lose against Boston and then again against the Rangers. They all felt you had no shot against the powerhouse Penguins. Did you enjoy being the underdogs?
We were considered the underdogs right from the get-go. I think it helped us because there wasn’t as much pressure on us. We never overlooked what we had to do and took it one game at a time. We just tried to focus on the task at hand and do the best we could. It felt good to prove people wrong so that fuelled us to play the best we could.
What was it about this group of guys that you feel was the biggest reason for your success in the playoffs this year?
We were a very tight group this year, and when that happens everyone comes together, holds each other accountable, and plays for one another.
Does coming so close to bringing the Stanley Cup to Ottawa give you, even more, motivation to come back next year and finish what you have started?
Definitely. Playoffs are such a fun time of year, and anything can happen. We all had a sick feeling in the pit of our stomachs for a few days after seeing that game 7 double overtime goal go in. We will have to use that to fuel the fire and get us back to where we were, and give ourselves another shot at it.
Do you remember the first time you put on skates?
I don’t remember the first time, but I was told that I was 3 years old and apparently, I didn’t like it much. My mom was a figure skater, so she had me skating right from the get-go. I was okay as long as I was on the ice with her, but I didn’t like my Can-Skate lessons without her until I got a little older.
Can you describe the role your family has played in you getting to the NHL?
My whole family has been extremely supportive of my hockey career. My dad coached me growing up and always pushed me to be the best I could be and kept me on track. My mom always made a rink in the backyard and my sister, brother and I would stay out there for hours with our friends playing shinny and practicing our skating and shooting.
Who was the first person you called when you got called up to the Ottawa Senators and played your first game in the National Hockey League?
When I first got called up, they told me I couldn’t leak the news to anyone besides family until it was announced to the team. So, I got in the car and started driving, and called my dad. I decided to tell him first because I knew he would be better at holding in the news than my mom would be. I was worried the team would be angry with me if the news got out, so I just waited until it was released to call her.
You played a lot with Dion Phaneuf this season—someone that was well known to Senators fans from his days as the Captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Can you describe what Dion is like as a teammate and person?
Right from day one, Dion was just a great guy. None of us knew what to expect as he was the captain of arguably our biggest rival. As soon as he got to the team, he just seemed to fit in right away and got along with everyone. We were paired together right away and had been playing together ever since.
Now that it is the off-season for the NHL tell us a little about what you like to do in the summer. Do you usually stick around Ottawa during the summer or do you have any plans to travel before training camp begins?
I spend the majority of my summers up at the cottage. Ever since I was a little kid, I have been going up there for the summer. My family and friends have cottages up there, so we all like to head up and hangout for the weekend.
Tell us about the dogs in your photos…what are their names? What are their personalities like?
They are both French bulldogs. Zeus (3) is the white dog, and Hugo (2) is the black one. Zeus is pretty laid back while Hugo is pretty crazy. But they are both very friendly.
What do you enjoy most about boating and wake boarding?
All of my friends and family up here have been boating together since we were pretty young. We head out for several hours every single weekend and it just never gets old for us. Wakeboarding is a completely different sport for me, and as an athlete, I like the challenge.
What are some tips for beginner wake boarders?
Many people start out so hunched over that I get a sore back just from watching them (laughs). Once they get up, I always remind them to stand up and relax.
Do you prefer the city, or do you prefer to spend time in cottage country like this?
Such a tough call, I try and keep a good mixture of both. During the week, I’m in the city training and skating in Ottawa. Then once the weekend rolls around, I always head up to the lake.
Do you barbecue a lot up at the cottage? If so, what would you say is Grillmaster Cody’s signature dish?
My mom is my neighbour up at the cottage and luckily loves to cook, so I’m usually off the hook up there. I’ll barbeque the odd steak or sausage but it’s never as good as hers, so I just stay out of the way. (Laughs).
Like many NHL Players, you enjoy playing golf during the summer? What are some of your favourite courses in the city and which teammates do you typically get out on the golf course with?
Mark Stone and I just joined Kanata Lakes, so that is the go to. It’s a club link course so that we can play around at different courses all over the place. My favourite club link course that I have played to date would have to be Le Maitre in Mont Tremblant.
Who are some of the best golfers on the team?
Mark Stone is an excellent golfer, but I think Mike Hoffman takes the cake.
Which guy on the team would be the one to take selfies everywhere you go?
We have a Snapchat group for the guys on the team, and Chris Wideman participates the most…So I’d have to say him. Although there are a few others that aren’t far behind.
Which guys have the worst taste in music on the team?
Zack Smith listens to pretty different music and always takes abuse in the room when he puts his music on. But he would definitely say the same about all of our music.
If you hadn’t played hockey, what is another career would you see yourself pursuing at this stage? What is it about that profession that interests you?
Being an F1 driver or professional golfer would be cool, but I’m very far off both of those…So we can just call them dream jobs.
You’re stuck on a deserted island with 4 of your teammates. Who and why?
I would choose Mark Borowiecki because he could live off the land and is our best chance at survival. Craig Anderson is a pretty smart, handy guy and could rig something up to get us off. Mark Stone and Jean-Gabriel Pageau would try and keep the mood light, so we don’t drive ourselves crazy.
Photography by Richard Dubois