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Sitting Down With Cody Franson

by Mike Ulmer / Toronto Maple Leafs

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Ask Cody Franson about the worst moment in his life and he is likely to mention the crying flight attendant.

The Maple Leafs acquired the six-foot-five defenceman from Nashville in July. The 24-year-old defenceman from Sicamous, BC, is expected to assume a place among the Leafs’ top four defencemen and man the point on the second power play unit. senior writer Mike Ulmer brought some unusual questions to help readers better know the young defenceman.

Mike Ulmer: Do you know anybody else named Cody?

Cody Franson: Yes, one of my best friends a guy I grew up with was named Cody.

MU: Where did your parents get the name?

CF: I think they got it from a Western.

MU: Were you ever cut as an aspiring player?

CF: I was cut from what they called BC’s "Best Ever" team. I was cut from the under-16 and under-17 (national) teams. That was disappointing but I got over it. My Dad always said what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Looking back, those were just bumps on the road.

MU: What do your parents do?

CF: My father Cal works at the rink in Sicamous, BC, my hometown. He runs the Zamboni. My mom, Karen, works at a specialty deli in Salmon Arm.

MU: What’s the closest you came to dying?

CF: Two times. Just this summer, we were setting out by car for a fishing trip with my grandpa and a car pulled in front of us. We t-boned him but nobody was hurt.

The second time was three years ago when I was playing in Milwaukee. We had a stopover in Memphis and were supposed to be going on to San Antonio. We refueled and after 45 minutes, we got back on the plane. We were about 300 feet when one of our engines blew out. There were sirens going off under our feet and I was sitting in the exit row and there was a lot of noise coming from the landing gear. The stewardess was heading back to her seat and someone asked her what was going on. She burst into tears and ran to the back of the plane. I pulled out the safety brochure and started reading. The captain came on and said we had blown an engine and that we were dumping fuel. He told us they were foaming the runway and not to be upset when we saw all the fire trucks. We landed so hard that we jammed the landing gear into place but everyone was fine.

MU: What’s your favorite baseball hat?

CF: I’m looking for a Blue Jays one. I was looking for one back home but I couldn’t get one because my head was too big.

MU: What makes you choke up?

CF: Funerals. Every time. I’m a mess. You don’t want to be around me at a funeral.

MU: How did your parents meet?

CF: My dad was playing Junior A in Salmon Arm and they got together after graduation.

MU: Tell me a story no one has heard about you or your family.

CF: I mentioned my dad drove the Zamboni at the Sicamous and District Recreation Centre. When I was growing up, my dad would pick me up during school days and let me work out on the ice for a couple of hours. He wouldn’t take me back to school, I could just skate. My mother wasn’t that happy about missing school but my dad was a hockey player and he thought that extra time was important. That’s a great memory for me.

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