With the completion of the QMJHL draft this past weekend, ProSportsBlogging will be featuring profiles on some of the great young talent being produced in Quebec. Today’s feature is on Sammy Hodhod.
You may not know the name right now, but you will at some point in the near future. Hodhod (1994 birth year) recently completed a season with the Chateauguay Patriotes of the Midget AAA league, and was drafted by the Shawinigan Cataractes in the 2nd round (30th overall) in the QMJHL draft. He was the 17th forward selected, and the 5th Center. Hodhod has a unique blend of speed, scoring, the ability to make plays at high speed, balance and a burning desire to be the best player on the ice every game. Having personally coached Sammy, I can attest to the fact that I always knew what I would be getting from him every night.
I recently touched base with Sam, and he was kind enough to answer some questions and lend some insight into his future.
PSB: For starters, just so readers can have a bit of background, when you were 12 years old you went to live in Detroit and played for the Little Caesars. How do you feel that experience helped you?
SH: It was a great experience! To have played hockey in the MWHL, it allowed me to hone my skills and play contact earlier when we’re only allowed 1st year Bantam here in Quebec. This factor made me work on my speed in terms of quick decision making. Mostly, I had to balance a high academic program along with an intense hockey schedule; it was much like our Midget AAA. I was lucky to have great coaches, and great teachers (Detroit Country Day). Everything was new: friends, school, country, and having to be on my own, I learned a lot that year. Today I am independent, focused AND PREPARED. I really think that it is one of the many sacrifices you have to make to get to the next level and that at one time or another we will all have to take that first step.
PSB: You are listed at 5’8, which is considered small for the average hockey player. What do you do to compensate for not being as big as big as some of your opponents?
SH: I never noticed my size, nor did I think it was a factor until last year when I was playing Midget Espoir. Even today, I don’t think about it – only off the ice I’ll notice that I am small or people will mention it. In all honesty, I think a player should be judged by their skill set, how good of a skater they are, work ethic on and off the ice and mostly how competitive the player is on the ice. I would rather be me, 5’8, and continue working on other aspects of my game such as strength, speed, shooting (quick releases), face offs, and be an “elite” hockey player so that size is not a factor. Whether you’re big or small, you should play at your highest level, win battles, forecheck hard and create opportunities to score.
PSB: The QMJHL’s Central Scouting had you ranked as a fourth rounder. That surprised some people, obviously including Shawinigan, who drafted you in the 2nd round. What did it mean to you for that organization to select you as their first forward and 2 rounds ahead of where you were projected to go?
SH: Ranked so low by the CSR was perhaps the best thing that could have happened to me. I met with many teams before the draft and most agreed that I was not a 4th rounder. Coming into the season, I had various obstacles to overcome. I tried to make the best of it; but having been injured early and going into the playoffs, that certainly did not work in my favor. Shawinigan is willing to invest in me and thankfully; they were prepared to take me in the 2nd round because they believe in me. I am really happy they selected me as their first forward and I am looking forward to being part of their organization. In retrospect, being projected so low by the CSR will positively motivate me and give me an opportunity to take my game to the next level.
PSB: Going to prep schools is becoming more and more popular for athletes from Quebec. What do you feel will be some of the advantages of playing in the Q?
SH: To be quite honest, I am not sure, but as a 16 year old there are advantages such as playing more games in the Q or even playing Midget AAA again. Prep School has a lot less games, and the season starts later, but it is definitely more popular at the present moment among Quebec players for schooling. It’s really a decision that is personal to everyone and it depends on what your goals are.
PSB: Now let’s get into some real hockey talk. What aspect of your game do you pride yourself on the most?
SH: Passion and love for the game. In addition, a will and determination beyond anyone’s imagination. I just have a drive to be the best and believe my discipline and work ethic will get me there.
PSB: Do you try and model your game after a particular NHL player?
SH: There were Junior teams that had asked this particular question. My answer may have stumped some because I said, ”I have my own style”. I explained that I try to resemble or acquire the greatest traits of all players who, in my mind, are the best in the NHL. I mentioned Crosby’s puck protection, explosiveness and vision; Ovechkin’s quick release; Datsyuk’s responsibility and awareness at both ends of the ice and his dangles of course; and finally, Iginla’s work ethic and leadership on and off the ice. I try to analyze and observe what makes each one of these players GREAT.
PSB: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received as a hockey player?
SH: ‘’It’s a marathon, not a sprint!”
“You’re a great hockey player but an even better kid. Don’t change that because people will always remember that and will want to help you for it.”
“You better skate and work hard or else you’re walking home with no dinner tonight.” – my mom, LOL
PSB: What are some of your short and long term goals “hockey-wise”?
SH: Short Tern: Be suited up for les Cataractes de Shawinigan at the beginning of the season. Also, to represent my province on Team Quebec U-17
Long Term: play for Team Canada and get drafted into the National Hockey League.
PSB: And finally, I coached 3 different teams that you were a part of. Have those experiences guaranteed that I make the list of people who get to join you at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft?
SH: We have definitely had some great times together Corey! YES, you will for sure be there! You have always made me feel like I could make anything happen, especially when we needed a goal, but most importantly you always believed in me too!
About the Author
Written by Corey Krakower
I am the Director of NHL Content & Habs writer for ProSportsBlogging.com; I have spent 8 seasons behind the bench as a minor hockey coach; and I am the future GM of the Montreal Canadiens (according to my mom). I spend my days managing the Harrow Sports brand in my hometown of Montreal and I moonlight as a Hockey Advisor for Pi Athlete Management. Most importantly, I'll throw anyone under the bus for a laugh.