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Hunter wraps up career with Wolverines

A pandemic has changed the course of yet another athlete.

Heading into the 2021 football season, Kenton product Cody Hunter was uncertain about rejoining the Westman Wolverines for a sixth season.

The son of Mel Hunter of Kenton and Brenda Hunter of Virden first joined the Manitoba Major Junior Football League team as a rookie in 2015. He was to cap his career with the 2020 campaign but that was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It wasn’t a sure decision for me to play this last season after having a year off, but after hearing about the dozen or so guys my age coming back, my decision was all but made,” Hunter said. “I was definitely very happy I played … I will really miss being around the guys, I think that’s what I enjoyed the most.”

Hunter was a key contributor to the Brandon-based Wolverines right from the start.

“Cody has been incredibly important to our team throughout his career,” Westman head coach Brady Dane said. “From his first year with us, he was always willing to do whatever was asked of him to help the team, including moving from quarterback, which he played in high school, to defensive back.

“At his new position, Cody improved every year, and with his athleticism, intelligence, and tenacity, became a player who we had absolute confidence in guarding any player in the league. At the same time, he was repeatedly called into action to step back in at quarterback when injuries and other issues demanded, often with no preparation, and always rose to the challenge.”

Hunter started at both cornerback and halfback this past season for the Wolverines.

“Now having played DB for upwards of 6 years, I’ve gotten a very good feel for it,” he said. “We had a very strong defence this year with younger and older guys mixed throughout, which definitely helped.  The veterans can help out the rookies with some of the mental parts of the defence, which definitely help when facing polished offensive schemes. I have really come to love playing on defence.”

Dane said that Hunter has been a leader for the team for several seasons.

“This stems first from his ability as a player, and his experience, which immediately earns him the respect of his teammates,” Dane said. “But he’s also a steadying force on the sideline, helping to keep things on track, and in perspective when emotions are running high.”

Working for Cargill in Oakner, Hunter and his fiancé Janice Maitland live in Brandon. He said the Kenton area is still home and he plans on moving back someday. He appreciates the support of his football career by his fiancé, parents, and his brother Shaun (a former Wolverine) of Virden and his fiancé Bethany Wagstaff.

“They have all been a great influence and driving force throughout my career,” Hunter said. “It’s always nice to jog over to the bleachers after a game and have someone there to chat with about the game. I appreciate how much they have all supported me in football.”