Cody Wild never had to travel far while growing up in North Providence, Rhode Island.
Living in a state that's just 1,200 square miles, there aren't many destinations that require a far drive from home. For Wild, that meant everything was nearby – beaches, college, the hockey rink, Red Sox games – you name it.
He also lived near a minor league baseball stadium – similar to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders at PNC Field – and has plenty of memories about spending summer days at the ballpark.
And then there's the food. With plenty of coastline, Wild is a seafood connoisseur. If you're ever in Rhode Island, he can point you to a restaurant that will give you three hours to eat all the steak and one-pound lobsters that your heart desires.
Wild will tell you all about the place where he grew up, plus he'll throw a few history fun facts in just for good measure.
Player: Cody Wild
Hometown: North Providence, RI
Population: 32,078 (2010 Census)
Distance from Wilkes-Barre: 290 miles
What's it like living in North Providence? It's a small town with a lot of Italians. Pauly D (from the television show Jersey Shore) is from the next town over from us. My dad was a cop in town for 22 years until he retired. I could never get in trouble. He had ears all over town.
Being the smallest state in the nation, I take it everything is pretty close? Yes, and it's very convenient. I went to Providence College, which is a mile from my house. The beaches are 30 minutes away. Gillette Stadium where the Patriots play is 25 minutes away and it takes only 45 minutes to get to Fenway Park.
It takes 45 minutes to drive across Rhode Island, top to bottom. If you're from Rhode Island, you're not from a town. Everyone's just from Rhode Island and that's it.
Is it the kind of place where everyone knows each other? Yes. Mark Eaton lives 10 minutes from me in the same town where my grandparents live. Coach (John) Hynes is 15 minutes from me. I played in a charity tournament this summer with a bunch of his old high school teammates and they gave me the scoop on him.
What did you do for fun outside of hockey? Golfed and went to the beach a lot. We have a lot of beaches.
So do you like seafood then? Well, let me tell you about this place. It's called the Nordic Lodge, on the beach. It's around $75 and it's all the lobster and steaks you can eat in three hours. Tip and drinks are included. Seventy-five bucks, that's it. You can go there and throw down 10 lobsters if you want. They'll keep firing one-pound lobsters at you left and right. It's unbelievable.
The food is nice, but how much do you really know about your home state? Here's a few fun facts. Rhode Island was supposed to be the capital of Massachusetts, then it branched off. Rhode Island was also the first colony to declare independence.
How about baseball? Isn't Rhode Island home to the farm team for the Boston Red Sox? They're in Pawtucket and I used to go to a bunch of games. It's cheap. We'd get to see all the big guys come down for rehab or as they worked their way up – David Ortiz, Jonathan Papelbon, Jacoby Ellsbury, John Smoltz, Dice-K, Jason Varitek and even Trot Nixon back in the day.
It's a great stadium and I had a buddy who knew all the workers there. We'd get all the food for $2. They'd be firing hot dogs at us for two bucks. It was great.
Would you like to live in Rhode Island after hockey? I can't see myself moving out of there. It's home for me.