Jennifer Small Photography

Trail Smoke Eaters captain graduates to the University of Vermont


The Trail Smoke Eaters were dealt a big blow as captain Cody Schiavon is leaving for the University of Vermont. It is unfortunate for Trail as it not only loses its leader, but the Smokies are also left with a void on the back end.

However, the Smoke Eaters happily watch one of their 20-year-old players graduate from junior to university hockey. It is a reason to celebrate for Schiavon and the Smoke Eaters, during these most uncertain times due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Schiavon’s commitment to Vermont is actually his second to the NCAA, as he had previously committed to Yale University for the 2020-21 season. He ultimately chose to return to Trail for his last season of junior eligibility, rather than attend the Ivy League school.

Had he stayed long enough to see regular season action, this would have been Schiavon’s fifth season appearing in the BCHL. As he bids farewell, let’s reflect on his time spent in junior A.

A four-year BCHL career

Schiavon began his BC Hockey League career back in 2016-17, while playing for the Okanagan Rockets of the BC U18 AAA League. He suited up for five BCHL games as an affiliate player with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks that season.

Schiavon did not record any points in those five games, but they allowed him to get his feet wet in the league.

The following year, Schiavon joined the Surrey Eagles and played his first full BCHL season. He played 52 games in that 2017-18 campaign, recording three goals and eight assists for 11 points as a rookie defenseman. During the Eagles run to game seven of the Mainland Division final in 2018, he chipped in with four assists in 13 games played. 

In 2018-19, he was named an assistant captain in Surrey. The sophomore defenseman again scored three goals, and assisted on 18 others, for 21 points in 44 games. He finished tied for the team lead for points among blueliners. Prior to the 2019-20 season, Schiavon was named captain of the Eagles.

The 19-year-old captain played just 17 games with the Eagles last season, scoring four goals and adding six assists. On Oct. 24, 2019, the Eagles traded Schiavon to Trail in exchange for 1999-born forward Liam Freeborn and 2000-born defenseman Kieran O‘Hearn.

Schiavon joined the powerhouse Smoke Eaters and contributed five goals and 15 assists for 20 points in 30 games down the stretch. In Trail’s first-round playoff series against Prince George, he registered one assist in the series as the Smoke Eaters swept the Spruce Kings in four straight.

The Smokies first-round series victory over PG set up a date with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks in round two.

An unprecedented year

Just as Schiavon and the Smoke Eaters were about to begin their second-round series against the Silverbacks, the season came to an abrupt end.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused an immediate shutdown to the BC Hockey League, like most other things in the world at that time. The Smoke Eaters were one of a few teams thinking they had a real shot at a championship, and now they wouldn’t get that chance.

With Schiavon being committed to Yale, it seemed as though his time in the BCHL had come to an end. But over the summer, Schiavon decided to return to Trail for his 20-year-old season.

Though it only lasted the extended training camp, his return to Trail was successful and in early October, he was officially named captain of the Smoke Eaters.

Schiavon played nine pre-season contests, scoring four goals, which tied for second on the Smoke Eaters, while his seven points tied for third. In my recent BCHL extended training camp all-stars article, Schiavon was named to the second all-star team.

Unfortunately, the BC Provincial Health Officer released restrictions in late November that left the BCHL unable to play games. In early December, such restrictions were then extended into January at the earliest.

With the BCHL not knowing when or how it will be allowed to play its regular season, Schiavon decided now is the time to begin his NCAA career. While his time in the BCHL has ended, his career is really just beginning.