October 8, 2012 - National Lacrosse League (NLL) - Rochester Knighthawks
With the 29th overall pick in the third round of the 2012 NLL Entry Draft, the Rochester Knighthawks selected defenseman Cody Hawkins of the British Columbia Junior "A" Lacrosse League.
"You can't explain the feeling of being drafted by the defending champions because there is no other place I would have rather been because the expectations are already so high. That's exactly where I want to be," said Hawkins. "They already have the winning nature in their blood and so do I. That's where I want to be."
Hawkins finished his career with the Delta Islanders, winning the BCJALL Defenseman of the Year Award. The Islanders have improved every year over Hawkins' five years with the team. He played in only eight games in the 2008 and 2009 regular seasons, but became a fulltime starter in 2010.
Knighthawks' Vice President of Player Personnel Jody Gage described Hawkins as a "physical, aggressive player that loves to play," and said the Delta, British Columbia native was highly recommended by the team's western scouts.
In 2012, Delta finished 14-5-2, setting a franchise record in wins while earning the second seed in the playoffs. Hawkins and the Islanders fell short of their first league title against the Coquitlam Adanacs.
Since 2010, Hawkins had played in 62 regular season games and scored 17 goals with 37 assists. He was able to reduce his penalty minutes to 15 this season, down from 54 a year ago.
Growing up, lacrosse wasn't the first sport Hawkins played. He began his athletic career playing soccer and baseball. However, a foot injury prevented him from playing contact sports, so he picked up golf.
"One of those three things people wouldn't know about me is I played golf competitively for two years," said Hawkins. "That's when I was young. I was seven and eight and I broke my foot playing baseball and soccer so I played golf for two years... I haven't touched a golf club since."
It wasn't until after he recovered from his broken foot at the age of nine when Hawkins not only picked up a lacrosse stick, but also began playing football.
Football became as much a part of Hawkins' life as lacrosse did in high school. The quarterback and safety led the No. 1 ranked Seaquam Seahawks into the B.C. Double A High School Provincial Championship against the second-seeded South Delta Sun Devils.
Trailing 16-7 in the fourth quarter to the Sun Devils, Hawkins scored from four yards out to cut the deficit to two with just over a minute left in the game. After a successful onside kick, it appeared Hawkins had connected with one of his receivers in the end zone for the win, but the ball was jarred loose on a hit as the receiver went out of bounds, and was ruled an incomplete pass.
Despite the loss, Hawkins was named the Game's MVP. He was also awarded the B.C. Double A Player of the Year.
Hawkins has a lot in common with fellow rookie draftee Robbie Campbell. The duo were both taken in the third round of the NLL Draft, they both played high school football and lacrosse at Seaquam Secondary, and both suited up for the Delta Islanders.
Now, Campbell and Hawkins will reunite at Knighthawks training camp.
"I bet he is just as surprised as I am but you can't really write a better story than that," said Hawkins.
The 21-year old is the youngest of four siblings with three older sisters. He's a self-described dog lover who prefers large breed dogs and he currently lives at home with two boxers and a bulldogs. Although he's from the west coast, he cheers for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Playing in the NLL has been a goal of Hawkins' since he first picked up a lacrosse stick 13 years ago.
"It honestly didn't matter to me (where I was drafted). I told some of the guys I talked to, I could have been the last pick but I'd still compete with the first pick because that's just the type of guy I am," said Hawkins.
"I hope I can fit in a role there where I can help them win another championship or a few in the long run."