Defenseman Cody Lampl will not be on hand for what he called the biggest honor of his life.
On Friday night at the Huntington Center, a bobblehead featuring Lampl's likeness will be given away to 2,000 Toledo Walleye fans.
Lampl will be instead be playing for his American Hockey League team, the St. John's IceCaps in Syracuse, New York.
Lampl played in 64 games for Toledo last season and quickly became a fan favorite with his physical play.
The 27-year-old from Ketchum, Idaho, also is easily recognizable with his long black beard and plethora of tattoos. He scored a career-high six goals in the regular season and had a goal and an assist in six playoff games for Toledo last season.
That production and steadiness earned Lampl an invitation to an AHL training camp in St. John's, Newfoundland. He signed with the IceCaps and has stuck with the team this season, playing in 14 games with an assist and seven penalty minutes.
Lampl called it “bittersweet” that won't be there in person on “Cody Lampl bobblehead night.” The organization ordered the souvenirs months ago after Lampl had re-signed with the team.
“I think it's the biggest honor you can get,” Lampl said in a phone interview from Newfoundland. “That an organization feels enough about you to make a caricature of you and pass it out to fans is something you'd never dream of. There's no greater honor - short of your jersey being retired.”
The bobblehead features Lampl in a classic, dark blue Walleye jersey. He's holding a stick while a yellow light on a lamppost is featured in the background.
Lampl led the team with 127 penalty minutes last year. The sturdy defenseman re-signed with Toledo in July.
He could return to the Walleye, who own his ECHL rights, at any time.
Lampl said his time with St. John's has been “fantastic.” He added it's great that he has a fallback plan with the Walleye.
“That is the best feeling in the world,” Lampl said. “I don't have to worry. It's good that they don't want to let me go up here. It means I'm making an impact. But if it doesn't work out, I still have a good spot [in Toledo]. It's not as stressful being sent back down because I would not be as disappointed.”
Lampl said he still follows the Walleye very closely.
“That's all I do,” he said. “I look at the box scores and follow the team on Twitter to get my updates. I love the city. I know the team is not doing as well as they want it. But I know they will be fine.
“Never in my wildest dream did I think I'd ever have bobblehead."