Life's no Beach for prospect

WES GILBERTSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:44 AM ET

Cody Beach isn't one of those guys who'll claim he has never lost a fight.

When your older brother is a tough-as-nails competitor on the fast track to an NHL gig, that's nothing to be ashamed of.

"There's always fighting in the family, and he's usually the winner," admitted Cody, 16, whose older brother Kyle Beach was plucked in the first round of this year's NHL draft by the Chicago Blackhawks after establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with in his second WHL campaign.

"Hopefully, that'll change one day."

Right now, the only fight on Cody's mind is the battle for a roster spot at Calgary Hitmen training camp, where the rookies hit the ice for the first time yesterday.

The Hitmen selected the Kelowna-raised right winger in the third round of the 2007 bantam draft, and are anxious to see what he's capable of.

"When you're playing with kids in your own age group, it's a lot easier," said Hitmen head coach Dave Lowry. "This game gets a lot more challenging when you mix in the older guys.

"But he's a character kid. He wants to be here, and he's worked very hard to get himself here."

Cody needs to add some muscle to his 6-ft.-4, 173-lb., frame, but there's no doubt he is cut from good cloth.

Despite missing a dozen games, Kyle scored 27 goals and added 33 helpers for the Everett Silvertips last season, while racking up a team-high 222 minutes in the sin bin.

His little brother is no angel, either.

"Oh yeah, we're pretty similar," Cody said. "We'll get gritty. We'll make the other teams hate us. Home fans like us and away fans hate us, too, but that's the way we play -- just get under the skin of the other team.

"If they're off their game, then it's good for us. And if I've done that, then I've done my job."

With Ryan White and T.J. Galiardi off to the pro ranks and Brock Nixon ineligible to return, the Hitmen need to fill a few holes on the front end.

After registering eight goals and 17 assists with the Okanagan Midget AAA Rockets last season, Cody thinks he's ready to follow his brother to the WHL.

While Cody attempts to crack the Hitmen lineup, Kyle is gearing up for his first professional camp. If the Blackhawks figure he needs more seasoning, he'll be back in Everett, meaning there's a chance the scrappy siblings could clash when the two squads meet Dec. 9 south of the border.

That could be a nail-biting experience for Mr. and Mrs. Beach, Brian and Rhonda.

"They'll just pretty much hope that we don't fight, that we keep the peace together," Cody said. "But I don't know. Older and younger brothers, it never is that way."


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