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Cody Glass Set for the Biggest Day of His Hockey Life

By Scott Taylor/Photo by Rik Fedyck

As the 2017 National Hockey League Draft approaches, all the sports talk shows tend to discuss Nolan Patrick, the Winnipeg star with the Brandon Wheat Kings who will be chosen either first or second on Friday night.

However, it’s very likely, the best story in this year’s draft is the one about the tall, skinny kid from Winnipeg named Cody Glass who jumped from a C-rating by Central Scouting in August to an A-rating in November and also jumped from 20th on the Central Scouting Rating list in November to eighth overall among North American skaters in January and then to sixth overall at the end of the season.

Of course, if you read what the experts are writing, Glass will actually be the fifth overall pick on Friday night, in all likelihood selected by the Vancouver Canucks.

It has been a dream season for Glass and as he worked out – hard – at NRG at the Seven Oaks Sportsplex last week, he gave all of the credit for his near-instant success to his linemates with the Portland Winterhawks and to his grandmother, Judy Glass, who, next to his dad Jeff and brother Matt, was probably his closest and dearest friend.

“I’m very excited about the draft,” Glass said quietly. “I came into the year as a guy who wasn’t looked at very much and I just wanted to prove to everyone that I can play. I think I did that throughout the year.

“I think right from the start, in August, when I got cut from Team Canada (U-18) camp and after that my grandma passed away and I wanted to dedicate my season to my grandma. Obviously, the motivation from getting cut by Team Canada fueled me throughout the year.

“I also felt more comfortable on the ice this season. A a 16-year-old I wasn’t the most exciting player to watch, I just got the job done. This year, I felt way more comfortable with the puck and was able to do the things I like to do on the ice. And I had great linemates. Keegan Iverson and Skyler McKenzie are great players and great to play with. It’s huge to have guys like that around me. Especially Skyler. We were together for the whole year and I think with him, we clicked right from the first game of the season. He can score goals and comes with pure skill and a good shot and then Iverson was a key on our line because of how big he is (6-foot-2, 220 pounds). He keeps all the enforcers away from me so it was a treat having him play alongside us.”

For the uninitiated, Glass had a remarkable season. A 6-foot-2, 180-pound centre, Glass finished the 2016-17 WHL season sixth in scoring in the Western Hockey League with 32 goals and 94 points in 69 games. Scouts say he “attacks hard and fast and consistently displays excellent puck control.” The former Hawks’ Bantam and Thrashers’ Midget can skate, score and has tremendous skill.

He also had a very interesting and sometimes difficult upbringing. In fact, it’s been said that “in a life full of turmoil, hockey has been the Glass family’s one constant.” When Cody was 10, his parents divorced, he was separated from his dad and his brother for six months during a nasty custody battle. Cody’s dad, Jeff, won the custody battle, and the family – as it was – was reunited.

However, after the legal fight was over, Jeff couldn’t afford to keep Cody at the AA level. That’s when his grandmother stepped in. She essentially raised Cody and his brother Matt as their mom and helped her son Jeff get back on his feet financially. Jeff and his two boys are remarkably close and Friday night will be as big a night for Jeff and Matt as it will be for Cody.

Cody’s grandma, Judy, died in August of 2016 after a long battle with cancer and while it brought the family closer together, her death wasn’t easy to handle.

“She did so much for me, my dad and my brother,” Cody said. “I could never thank her enough. I dedicated my whole season to her.”

When he pointed to the sky every time he scored, she was obviously looking down on him. He could not have scripted a better season.

Patrick and Glass will be the first two Manitobans selected this weekend at the NHL Draft in Chicago, but they won’t be the only ones.

Nick Henry of Portage la Prairie rounds out the Manitobans listed by Central Scouting as potential first round draft picks. Henry is ranked 25th on the list of North American skaters which probably makes him a second rounder when you toss in the European skaters. However, he was also 25th in the mid-term report so he hasn’t faltered down the stretch.

The 5-foot-11, 190-pound rightwinger for John Paddock’s Regina Pats had 35 goals and 81 points in his rookie season in the WHL and finished 24th in league scoring. Paddock calls the speedy Henry, “Potentially, the best player in the WHL and a definite pro prospect.”

Winnipegger Stelio Mattheos of the Brandon Wheat Kings, who played for Canada’s U-18 team at the recent 2017 World Championship, fell from the 23rd rating to 38th between the mid-term rankings and the final rankings, which is strange considering he was one of the best players at the World Championship for Canada. Mattheos, the 6-foot-1, 190-pund rightwing/centre finished with 26 goals and 61 points in 60 games with the Wheaties this season.

Morgan Geekie of Strathclair, Man., played his Triple A midget with the Yellowhead Chiefs and is now the top scorer for the Tri-City Americans in the WHL. Geekie finished with 35 goals and 90 points in all 72 games and was 11th in WHL scoring this season.

Geekie was ranked 50th at mid-season, but moved up to 45th and probably should have been ranked higher. As the 6-foot-2, 175-pounder continues to improve, don’t be surprised if he moves up into the early second round.

Meanwhile, watch for Moose Jaw’s Josh Brook (Roblin) and Brandon’s Ty Lewis (Brandon) in the NHL Draft. Brook, a defenseman who played on Canada’s U-18 team at the World Championship was ranked 70th at mid-season and is now No. 49 while Lewis made the biggest jump of all, going from 105 at the mid-terms to 59th in the final list.

In total, there were a record nine Manitoba players on the Central Scouting Bureau’s final list of North American skaters. Their mid-season rankings are in parentheses. The Draft will be held in Chicago starting this Friday, on both June 23 and 24:

  1. Nolan Patrick, Winnipeg, Brandon Wheat Kings, C (1)
  2. Cody Glass, Winnipeg, Portland Winter Hawks, C (8)
  3. Nick Henry, Portage la Prairie, Regina Pats, RW (25)
  4. Stelio Mattheos, Winnipeg, Brandon Wheat Kings, RW/C (23)
  5. Morgan Geekie, Strathclair, Tri-City Americans, C (50)
  6. Josh Brook, Roblin, Moose Jaw Warriors, D (70)
  7. Ty Lewis, Brandon, Brandon Wheat Kings, LW (105)
  8. Brett Davis, Oakbank, Kootenay Ice, RW (142)
  9. Colt Conrad, St. Alphonse, Western Michigan University, C (174)
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