From sharpening skates as a young teenager at Caribou Ski Source for Sports, to managing the equipment for Team Canada at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge earlier this month in Sault Ste. Marie, Gord Cochran has taken his craft to unbelievable heights.
The 30-year-old Western Hockey League’s Regina Pats equipment manager, who was born and raised in Williams Lake and played his rep hockey in the lakecity alongside none other than Montreal Canadiens’ goaltender and Anahim Lake’s Carey Price, said he’s fortunate to be where he’s at today.
Cochran was selected by Hockey Canada to be the equipment manager for Canada’s Team Red at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, which ran from Oct. 30 to Nov. 5.
“We had a really good experience,” Cochran told the Tribune. “Any time you get to work for Hockey Canada everything’s great and they take care of you. We had a great team and finished first in our round robin in our pool and played Canada White in the quarters and couldn’t score and lost 3-2.
“It was really eye-opening how intense every single game is like a game seven. Every time your team is playing with the maple leaf on you’re expected to win. It was a great experience and one I’ll never forget, that’s for sure.”
Cochran said his first foray into the equipment side of the game came from an opportunity presented to him by Caribou Ski Source for Sports owner Tom Wong, who offered him a job sharpening skates at a young age.
“That was where it all started,” he said. “I was 16 and wanted to get a deal on some clothes and get a part-time job and one thing led to another and here I am 14 years and still at it. I was good at it and able to pick it up right away. It’s one of those things where everything kind of fell into place.”
From there, he landed a job with the BC Hockey League’s junior ‘A’ Williams Lake Timberwolves in 2006 and, in 2008, moved on to be the equipment manager for the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers.
He spent five seasons with the Vipers and had the opportunity to attend three RBC Cup national championships with the team.
Cochran is now in his third season with the Pats.
“Coming to Regina from Vernon, that was a big step,” he said. “Working in the WHL is unbelievable and working for the Pats — our head coach and general manager (John Paddock) is unbelievable.”
As for his old Williams Lake bantam rep teammate Price, Cochran said the two still keep in touch.
“We’re still really good buddies,” he said. “We see each other a couple times a summer when he’s back in Kelowna.
“It’s crazy. One of your best friends growing up is a stud goalie in the NHL. He’s come a long ways from playing in the hallways at the rink and I’m so proud of him.”