Cox prepares for intense evaulation at USA Hockey camp

Neil Patrick Healy
Friday, July 13, 2018
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Photo courtesy of Youth Sports Photography Network

Caid Cox slaps the puck during a training session with the Colorado Springs Tigers at the National Strength Conditioning Facility in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Thursday.


Livingston native Caid Cox has spent countless trips through the snowcovered Bozeman Pass in his parent’s car driving to hockey practice. Those trips are close to paying off.

In May, Cox was selected to participate in the USA Hockey boys select 15 national camp in Amherst, New York, one of 220 15-year-old hockey players in the nation to be chosen. The camp goes from July 15 through July 20, with Cox set to skate with the best 15-year-old players in the country.

“It’s actually a really big deal,” said Pete Kamman, USA Hockey coach and chief for the state of Montana. “I think there’s been maybe two players in the history of Montana hockey that have made it this far … Basically, this national camp is the first step identifying future Olympic team players.”

Cox, a defenseman, made his way through the Montana hockey camp before qualifying for the regional camp, going up against the best players from Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota and South Dakota. Cox eventually placed in the top five in the region, paving the way for his chance to skate in Amherst in front coaches and scouts from programs across the country.

“It’s a huge opportunity for him,” Kamman said. “It’s an opportunity for him — being based in Livingston and playing hockey out of Bozeman, kind of a non-traditional hockey market — this is an opportunity for him to be seen by all the top programs and coaches in the country … He can potentially make an impact and potentially get on a program’s radar and get a college roster spot in the future out of this.”

Kamman has worked with Cox in various hockey camps, noting that Cox has grown into a formidable defenseman with good leadership skills and strongerthan-average skating skills for someone his age. For the camp, Cox has plotted out his goals, sorting them out from the smaller, more intimate ones such as making friends and seeing where he stacks up against the country’s best, to the bigger, more ambitious one of nabbing a Division I offer.

Cox is preparing for the evaluation process to be intense and extensive, both on and off the ice.

“For me, you’re always under a microscope,” Cox said. Every move, on and off the ice, they’re watching you to see if you’re going to be the one they pick to move on. Part of that is just being your best self and doing what’s right, and two is the other players around you. You have to beat them out too, so playing hard and competitive against them is another thing you have to face.”

After being evaluated for five days in Amherst, Cox will have to go through the whole process over again as a 16-year-old, with the list of finalists being trimmed down to 180 kids. The list will keep getting trimmed down until the final list of 26 players will be moved to Plymouth, Michigan, where they will live and practice in the USA Hockey program for two years.

With the process still having a lot of steps left, Cox is still keeping his eyes on impressing the coaches and scouts, with the hope of college interest still being the big thing he’s after.

“If I go out there and have a really good showing, playing my game and stuff, the thing that could be (an outcome) is to get a Division I offer from schools,” Cox said. “Big hockey schools like North Dakota or Minnesota or big-time hockey schools and get an offer from them. That would be the big thing.”

Cox is currently training in Colorado Springs. He and his parents will make their way to Amherst this weekend before the first day of evaluation Sunday.