Brighton native Cooper Marody talks NHL Draft, joining the Wolverines and more

Photo from the USHL
Photo from the USHL


By @StefanKubus –

When he was in second grade, Cooper Marody wrote in his class yearbook that he wanted to play hockey at the University of Michigan.

When he turned ten, his birthday party was held at Yost Ice Arena.

Now, at 18, he will get his chance to fulfill that dream this fall.

“It was a pretty easy decision when they said they wanted to take a chance on me and wanted to offer me a spot, and I took it right away, that’s for sure,” Marody said.

The Brighton native has had himself a pretty good last couple of months, too.

Marody Action marked
Photo by Michael Caples/MiHockey

Marody first won the USHL Clark Cup with Sioux Falls in May, and in June was selected in the sixth round by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.

Though he certainly aims to one day suit up for Philadelphia, Marody certainly isn’t getting ahead of himself. He’s set to start his NCAA career with the Wolverines with the 2015-16 campaign, and he has already been taking classes.

“All of us hockey freshmen started school at Michigan, so we have to take three classes and then sometime between the classes, we work out. It’s a pretty filled schedule for us, and that’ll go to about mid-August, so we’re on campus getting acclimated, which is good, and finding out what all the buildings are and things like that.”

MORE: A look at the Wolverines’ yearly training schedule

Back before his team was crowned league champions, Marody started his USHL career with the Muskegon Lumberjacks, recording 30 points in a 58-game rookie campaign in 2013-14. But just 14 games into the 2014-15 season, he was dealt to Sioux Falls. There, he amassed 49 points in 38 games and added 12 in 12 playoff games en route to the Clark Cup, where the Stampede swept his former club in Muskegon, 3-0.

“It was pretty cool to be able to win in there in front of that crowd,” Marody said.

“Just what we accomplished as a team in Sioux Falls, I mean everyone doubted us throughout the year. Nobody would’ve picked Sioux Falls to win, so that was a tremendous honor.”

But getting to the USHL was no easy task, a point he hopes aspiring youth players take to heart.

“I was never a height player, only made national camp my last season, got cut from my varsity team my freshman year. You’ve just got to stick with something, and if you put in the work and have the commitment and sacrifice, you can accomplish anything.”

That dedication propelled Marody to success at the USHL level, and Philadelphia obviously took notice.

“The draft, you have a lot of unknowns going into that. I was never really a heights guy growing up, faced a lot of adversity, so just to have the opportunity to possibly be drafted was an honor. To find out it was Philly, it was pretty cool.

“They have an unbelievable fanbase, first of all. It’s a very storied tradition, been around for a long time. I don’t know too much about their personnel, and I know they’re an up-and-coming team. They have players like Claude Giroux and (Jakub) Voracek who are really good. I’m just looking forward to some day, with hard work, putting on that jersey. I think it would be awesome.”

MORE: ‘The Shift’ with Cooper Marody

But as he mentioned, the draft brings a lot of unknowns, including the interview process where franchises have their opportunity to learn more about the prospects.

“I probably spoke with 15 different teams and I also spoke with some at the combine. The combine was a cool experience, going through all the fitness testing, doing the interviews with the teams. Some teams recorded your conversations, some teams there’s 15 people in there, so it was an interesting experience.”

And the interviews, as it is quite often with job interviews, tend to feature some bizarre questions every now and then.

“Probably the weirdest question was, ‘Would you cheat to win?’ and ‘How would you do if there were no refs?”

How would Marody quickly answer the latter?

“If there’s no refs, I think there’s a natural governing amongst the players, and you know when things are acceptable, so I think the players kind of referee the game at that point.”

That’s the response from a player mature beyond his years.

From the experience he gathered in his youth days, high school days and time in the USHL, Marody offered up advice from his journey, and he hopes he can inspire local youth players to pursue their own hockey dreams.

“Anything worth having is going to be tough, so just keep battling through adversity and surround yourself with the right kind of people, and there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.”