Winterhawks center Cody Glass had a successful rookie season in 2015-16, amassing 10 goals and 17 assists for 27 points in 65 games as a 16-year-old. The team’s first round pick in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft, Glass fills us in on what he’s up to this summer, his reflections on his rookie season, expectations for his second season and his thoughts on playing for Mike Johnston:
Is there any part of your game in particular you’re trying to work on this summer?
Cody Glass: “I really need to work on my whole game, nothing specific. But if I had to single something out I’d say my strength and my quickness because everyone in the league is getting quicker and stronger and I definitely need to keep up.”
What was your reaction to Mike Johnston coming back to the Winterhawks?
CG: “I’m excited. Knowing what he did with the team in the past and all the championship series the team has been to with him, it’s going to be an exciting future for us. We’re going to be a lot younger this season so it’ll be good having a coach like that, especially with him having been in Pittsburgh with top talent like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. It’s going to be a good experience for me and the team as well.”
He was GM when the Winterhawks drafted you in 2014 before leaving for Pittsburgh. Does it feel like you’ve come full circle now that you’ll get to play for him?
CG: “After I got drafted I was looking forward to playing for him, but now that I get to play for him I think it’s going to be awesome and will be a good opportunity with me going into the draft next year. It’s going to be a good year.”
Have you spoken to him yet about his expectations for you next season?
CG: “I’ve spoken to him once, he was telling me how the year’s going to go, how my summer’s going to be, stuff like that. He wants me to get bigger, stronger, put on weight since it’s going to be a huge year for me with the draft. They’re really expecting a lot out of me so I’m working my hardest to become better and stronger for when I get back to Portland.”
Does being eligible for next summer’s draft chance your approach to this season?
CG: “Knowing the draft is coming up is in the back of my head so it’s a little extra motivation, but I’m not too worried about it. I’m mostly thinking about team success, with team success comes individual success.”
Is it strange to think you only have one year under your belt, and now you have to start thinking about the draft?
CG: “It definitely happens quickly. Going into the WHL Draft was the same way, coming in at such a young age. But now that I have a year in the WHL it’s more comfortable, you know what you’re doing, it’s good.”
What’s the biggest thing you learned last season?
CG: “I was on a line with two 20-year-olds (Alex Schoenborn and Rihards Bukarts), and they really helped me along the way. Coming in as a 17-year-old will be a lot better knowing I had that veteran presence on my line last season as a rookie. Those guys, and being around other veterans like Dominic Turgeon, it helped me a lot. I think coming into next year I can provide that for the younger guys as well.”
At this time last year you had to be thinking about what it would be like moving to a new city, a new school, billets, etc. Is it easier to prepare for this season knowing what to expect in those areas?
CG: “Coming in as a 16-year-old you’re not too familiar with anything and the schooling’s a lot different. But now that I’ve got a year under my belt I feel like it’s going to be easier as I’m more comfortable with the city and the schooling, getting back at two in the morning after road trips and stuff like that. I think it’ll be easier now and more fun.”
Going back to your hometown of Winnipeg for the summer, what do the people there think your life is like in Portland?
CG: “Being a prairie boy myself, going to a city like Portland and being on the west coast, they ask about the weather, getting away from the snow, stuff like that. They were very welcoming when I came back and being in the city of Winnipeg with my friends and family has been great. They think it’s a hipster city, but also one of the best places to play hockey as well with the fanbase. They’ve heard good things about it.”
What are your plans for the rest of the summer before you return to Portland?
CG: “I’m going to keep training and getting on the ice, and hopefully get an invite to the U-18 Team Canada tryouts for the Ivan Hlinka tournament. I just want to keep getting better.”