Glass didn’t break under pressure, now he’s a sought-after prospect

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Cody Glass had almost everything a top NHL draft prospect would need — superior skating, soft hands, above-average intelligence and an intuitive feel for the game.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/05/2017 (1915 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Cody Glass had almost everything a top NHL draft prospect would need — superior skating, soft hands, above-average intelligence and an intuitive feel for the game.

Then, last summer, his life was turned upside down. He was cut from Team Canada’s squad heading to the under-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and only days later, his beloved grandmother, Judy Glass, who had lived for several years with Cody and his family in their West Kildonan home, died after a lengthy illness. 

Glass, a 17-year-old centre preparing for his second season with the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks, was devastated.

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS NHL draft prospect Cody Glass says that while he's happy no matter who drafts him, he would love to play for the Jets.

“I got cut from Team Canada and shortly after my grandma passed away, so going into the season, there was a lot of stuff going on,” said Glass, who had never been cut from a hockey team before. “I think my one escape was hockey, so I took that stuff as motivation going into the year. It gave me some fuel going into it. We got our coach Mike Johnston back, and he’s been a big help. He’s pretty much given me free will. I can’t thank him enough.”

Glass’s return to Portland started with a rough patch. He suffered a concussion in training camp and missed the entire pre-season.

When he finally suited up for the regular-season opener, it was as the club’s No. 1 centre, and he quickly broke the ice with two points.

Those two points led to 32 goals and 94 points in 69 games, good for seventh in WHL scoring, after managing 10 goals and 27 points in 2015-16 as a 16-year-old.

A big leap in production is not unheard of in major junior hockey, but it’s usually a pretty reliable indicator of future dominance.

“He went with a chip on his shoulder to (training) camp and wanted to prove everybody wrong,” says his dad, Jeff Glass.

Says 21-year-old brother Matthew, “Me and my dad did not expect Cody to have the season he had this year. At the beginning of season, our goals were a lot lower. The things he accomplished this year were quite significant. We couldn’t be more proud of him.

“He was  just a lot more self-motivated to get to the gym. He pushed himself hard in the gym afterward.”

NHL scouts were noticing the production boost, but there had been another big change. The skinny 5-11, 140-pounder who made his WHL debut as a 15-year-old call-up for a three-game trial had blossomed into a 6-2, 180-pounder.

A projected mid-round draft pick was being mentioned as a first-round candidate. 

“I went from being a top guy in midget to being a slow, little kid at 140 pounds playing in the WHL,” Glass says. “Just from that point, I knew how much faster it would be, how much stronger you have to be. Going into the off-season I trained a bit harder. As a 16-year-old I was a bit timid with the bigger guys (but) this year I was a little bit more comfortable.”

The crucial question is how much better and bigger will he get? His brother Matthew is 6-7.

“I’m going to guess he’ll get to my height,” says the 6-4 Jeff Glass, a veteran of 23 years as a letter carrier with Canada Post.

“We were all late. I started to grow in Grade 10. I’ll say 6-4, 6-5. Hopefully not too tall.”

Glass finished 2016-17 as the sixth-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting. Some draft projections have him being chosen as high as No. 5 overall, but he professes no specific wish about his destination — with one small exception, perhaps.

“Winnipeg’s picking at 13,” says Glass, who will graduate with his class at West Kildonan Collegiate next month. “I’d love to play at home.”

“It doesn’t matter,” his father says. “Going into this season, we were hoping and because we had no expectations, if he went in the first three rounds we’d be super excited. Then when the season started going, he set new goals for himself and he said he wanted to go in the first round.”

mike.sawatzky@freepress.mb.ca  

Twitter: @sawa14

 

Mike Sawatzky

Mike Sawatzky
Reporter

Mike has been working on the Free Press sports desk since 2003.

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Updated on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 11:56 AM CDT: Typo corrections.

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