Photo by Hickling Images
The game of hockey has been a part of Cody Haiskanen’s life ever since he was young and he continues to make strides in a game that has given him so much.
Haiskanen, who is a native of Fargo, ND fell in love with the game of hockey at a very young age, first skating at age five and beginning his competitive career at age six. Although Haiskanen played other sports growing up, including golf, football and baseball, hockey was always number one due to the bond he shared with his teammates.
“I made all of my really close friends through hockey, I guess the game kind of chose me, I didn’t choose it.”
Haiskanen went to Fargo Davies High School, where he was one of the hockey team’s top players and standout defensemen.
“Not many high schools get this nice of a rink to play in, so playing here was very nice. We didn’t get as many fans as Fargo [Force] gets but it was still pretty awesome.”
Alongside hockey, Cody enjoyed playing on the golf team for Fargo Davies, but realized he potentially had a bright future in the game of hockey. Following graduation in 2015, Haiskanen traveled north of the border to begin his junior hockey career with the Portage Terriers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. This was a different experience for Cody, but he said he really enjoyed his time there. Haiskanen played in 58 games last season for the Terriers where he posted 27 points.
“It was a lot of fun, got a little crap for being the American kid, but the hockey is really good up there.”
This past summer, the Fargo Force, his hometown team, selected Haiskanen with the 109th overall pick in Phase II of the 2016 USHL Draft. Haiskanen and his family are very familiar with the Force, as they have had season tickets since the team’s inaugural season in 2008-09. Once Cody realized he had a chance to play for his hometown team, there were many emotions going through his head.
“I was very excited,” Haiskanen said. “I’ve always loved the Sioux and always wanted to compete at the Division I level and the USHL is one of the best leagues at moving players on to play Division I.”
Playing for the Force was always a dream Haiskanen has had, and he hopes he can help the Force make a deep playoff run this season.
“I’ve always wanted to come back and play for the Force, I know how great their organization has been in the past and how many close runs they’ve had to winning championships, and to have the chance to bring one to Fargo would be unbelievable.”
Haiskanen is enjoying his first season with the Force and has found the team has a great mix of players and is enjoying every day with them.
“I love the guys on our team,” Haiskanen said. “We have a great group of guys and being able to come to the rink and hang out with them every day and battle with them every weekend is awesome.”
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 15th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2016-17. 30 or more players from the USHL have been selected in four consecutive NHL Drafts, and more than 400 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.