PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Who knows when Cody Ceci will eventually get to move out of his parents house in suburban Ottawa?
Not only did the 18-year-old defenceman get the chance to play major junior hockey with his hometown 67’s, he’ll also have a chance to one day pull on a Senators sweater after Ottawa selected him 15th overall at the NHL draft on Friday night.
That was clearly a popular decision for his enthusiastic mother Karen, who might have been the happiest person in Consol Energy Center.
“She likes me at home apparently,” said Ceci. “Getting to stay (in Ottawa) for major junior was special for her and getting the chance to stay there now for the National Hockey League is something else that will be really cool for me and my whole family.”
One of the reasons Ceci was so appealing to the Senators was his deep roots in the community. The son of a former CFLer (Parri) and former figure skater (Karen), Ceci is an offensive-minded blue-liner who nearly scored at a point per game in the Ontario Hockey League this season.
He’ll soon become a player that young kids in Ottawa can look up to.
“I just think that so many good hockey players are developed in the Ottawa area,” said Senators GM Bryan Murray. “I really think that it’s a great influence on minor hockey, I think it’s a great message to young players from Ottawa that if you are a good player we will certainly look at you as being a candidate for the Senators.
“I think that these people become role models.”
Ceci estimates that it will be about a 30-minute commute to Scotiabank Place from his parents home in Orleans. With the 67’s moving there next season, it’s a drive he’ll be making often no matter what.
By the time he starts playing for the Senators, Ceci expects he’ll move out of his parents home.
“I guess it’s realistic (to stay) for major junior, but the next level I’ll probably have some money,” he said. “I’ll probably get a spot a little closer.”
Ceci recalled once getting tickets to a Senators game in his stocking at Christmas and it being “the best thing ever.”
He was nervous on Friday night as the Senators turn to take the podium got closer and closer on Friday. After he was called to the stage, his cellphone was inundated with messages from excited friends.
“I haven’t gotten a chance to look at my phone or my Twitter or anything, but I’m sure it’s blowing up right now,” said Ceci. “I hope I don’t get too much activity because I’m in the States and there’ll be roaming. It should be blowing up.
“I’m sure all my buddies back home are going crazy right now. I’ll have to wait or just take the bill.”