Former Beaver Valley Nitehawks defenceman Cody Franson signed with the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League on Wednesday.
The Chicago Blackhawks affiliate inked the 33-year-old defenceman to a one-year deal. Franson spent the past two seasons playing with the Omsk Avangard of the KHL, where he totalled eight goals and 43 points in 98 games.
“Cody is going to be a great addition to our squad and it will be like adding an extra coach for us,” said IceHogs Head Coach Derek King in a release. “He may not have known it, but I kept an eye on him during his first time with us (2017-18 season) and he’s been coaching the younger players ever since. He’s a tremendous addition to our defensive core, the team overall, and willing to take younger players under his wing to show them how to be a good professional.”
Franson played for the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s Nitehawks in Beaver Valley as a 16-year-old in 2003-04, scoring 31 points in 48 games, and racking up 60 minutes in penalties. He also played in two games as an AP with the BCHL Trail Smoke Eaters and registered one assist.
Cody joined the WHL Vancouver Giants where he was selected 79th overall, in the third round of the 2005 NHL Draft by the Nashville Predators. The six-foot-five, 225-pound blueliner made his NHL debut in 2009 with the Preds and after playing in 80 games and tallying 29 points in the 2010-11 campaign, was traded to Toronto Maple Leafs in 2011, where he played until 2015.
A 10-year career in the NHL saw Franson make stops in Buffalo with the Sabres (2015-17) and the Blackhawks (2017), before joining the IceHogs. The Sicamous native skated with Rockford in 2017-18, splitting the season between the NHL Blackhawks and the AHL affiliate.
Franson registered nine goals and 28 points and placed second among Rockford team defenseman with 15 power-play points in 37 games, earning him team Defenseman of the Year award honours.
During the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs, Franson helped the IceHogs reach the Western Conference Finals for the first time in team history, picking up 13 points in 13 games and finishing second among AHL defensemen in postseason points and power-play points (four goals, five assists).