WSHL Renaissance Man

by Steven Force

Hockey, racing and family.  Fresno Monster’s captain Cody Key is more than just a hockey player.  He’s the WSHL’s version of a Renaissance Man.

Key is in his fourth season in the WSHL, and his third with his hometown team, the Fresno Monsters.  Key first came into the league during the 2014-15 season with the Cheyenne Stampede, putting up 46 points in 42 games.  He decided to come back home and play for the Monsters the following year. 

“I was given the opportunity to return home, and I get to play in front of those who matter most, my family and friends.  It feels good being back home where I know I belong.  The fans out here give us a tremendous competitive edge, and I love playing in front of them.”  Key joked, “And there’s no snow!”

While playing for the Monsters, Key has become one of the top scorers in the league, but it took some time to develop.  Prior to last season’s 89 points, Key was the definition of a point-a-game player.  In his first two seasons in the WSHL, he had 91 points in 91 games.

Key said, “Honestly, I grew up as a player and as a person.  I knew I had to come up big in certain situations and I didn’t back down from those challenges.  It also helps having a great coach like Kevin Kaminski working with me both on and off the ice to improve my skills and keep pushing me.”  Kaminski, the former NHLer, became Fresno’s head coach during the 2016-17 season, Key’s breakout year.

When he’s not on the ice, or on the golf course, Key is behind the wheel of his Sprint Car.  Racing since he was five, Key said, “My father has been involved in racing long before me and my brother started racing under C&K Racing.  I guess you could say that racing is in the blood.” 

Key’s racing team, C&K Racing, is sponsored by the Monsters who are all-in to support their captain.  In an article on the Monsters’ website, Fresno’s Director of Operations James Karr said, “We couldn’t be more proud of our captain and the success he’s seen following his passion over the past years.”  The success Karr was referencing is not anything new for Key.  When Key started racing, he quickly became the three-time track champion at the Visalia and Lemoore raceways.

About halfway through his final season of junior hockey, Key has thought about what he wants the next step of his hockey career to be, playing in the NCAA.  He said, “I have a couple colleges in mind that I’m waiting to hear offers from.”  That’s not his only plan, however, “if nothing comes to fruition, then I’ll head back to the track, strap on my helmet and pursue my racing career.”