Daren Fridge makes it sound like Cody Malawsky has been biologically engineered to play lacrosse.
“He has the genetic codes, or the geneology, to be a great player,” said Fridge, his longtime coach.
The Ridge Meadows lacrosse bench boss has watched Malawsky playing the game from the time he first entered the Ridge Meadows association. His dad Curt, a Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame member, enrolled Cody a year early. The two men coached together, and did a lot of the coaching of each other’s kids.
When the Langley Thunder Junior A squad picked the younger Malawsky first overall in the BC Junior A Lacrosse League midget draft, Fridge saw it as a savvy pick.
“It was a pleasant surprise,” said Fridge, who has mentored Cody since before he was eligible to play. “I certainly thought he would go in the top five, and maybe the top three.”
Cody has a slight frame, and his lack of size was probably more obvious because he always played with older kids due to his elite skill level. Some scouts might have seen a bigger kid as more of a sure thing.
“But you knock him down, he would get right back up,” said Fridge.
Now, as he starts to put more muscle and weight on his frame, Fridge predicts Cody is going to be a dominant player in junior. Marrying smarts, finesse and finely-honed stick skills with the ability to absorb contact.
The Thunder have drafted a kid who thinks the game like Stephen Hawking pondered black holes.
“His lacrosse IQ would be off the charts,” said Fridge. “He has been around pro teams.”
Curt Malawsky has done it all in lacrosse. He was a standout junior, then played 12 seasons in the NLL from 1998 to the end of his playing career in 2009. He played with five different teams, winding up with the Calgary Roughnecks. He had played in five championship finals, and finally won it in that last season. Curt also played 13 seasons in the WLA and was a six-time all star. He finished his playing career and went right into coaching with Calgary, and is now the Roughnecks GM and head coach.
Cody credits his success to Fridge and other coaches in the Ridge Meadows association, but none more than his dad. Not many kids have a hall-of-fame athlete and pro coach to practise skills with.
“We throw it at each other, and see who drops it first,” said Cody, admitting it is generally his dad who wins the contest.
He was happy to be picked by the Thunder.
“I love the arena, a couple of my buds are there, and it’s nice and close for when I get my ‘N’,” he said.
As for his goals in the game, Malawsky looks no further ahead than his coming junior career – it would be a dream to win a Minto Cup with the Thunder.
After that, he is looking for an NCAA career, and said “I’ll try to go down the same lane as my dad.”
If there’s a player he tries to emulate, it’s his new Thunder coach and star player Dane Dobie, for both his scoring talents, and the way he makes everyone around him better.
He also takes pointers from Curtis “Superman” Dickson.
“He’s got nice underhand shot. My dad’s not a fan of it, but it goes in though.”
COVID-19 has stalled development for everyone. Malawsky attends the weekly workouts being offered to “keep my stick warm,” but really misses games.
“But there’s nothing like the contact, the big hits, the five-on-five play,” he said.
He also missed what should have been a great season with the Burrards, when his team would be have been in the hunt to win what would have been his third provincial championship in box lacrosse.
“I’m going to miss all those guys. We had a great bunch of guys – like a family.”