The Chicago Wolves earned the 2018-19 Central Division title primarily with guys who helped the cause from Day 1. Thirteen skaters played 60 or more games and several others – including top scorers Daniel Carr and Brooks Macek – would have reached that number if not for late-season injuries.
Then there’s rookie center Cody Glass, whose ballyhooed junior career with the Western Hockey League’s Portland Winterhawks ended on March 30.
Two days later (on his 20th birthday), Glass boarded a flight to Chicago. As the sixth overall selection in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft held at the United Center – and the first draft pick by the then-fledging Vegas Golden Knights – Glass didn’t fly here to watch.
He stepped into the Wolves lineup on April 5
in Milwaukee and didn’t skip a beat, scoring twice in his professional debut while leading all players with six shots on goal. In six games with the Wolves, he owns three goals and two assists.
It’s almost like the Winnipeg native was still captaining the Portland Winterhawks. Though he missed nearly half of this season with injury, he recorded an impressive 69 points (15 goals and 54 assists) in his 38 appearances.
We caught up with the 6-foot-2, 185-pound Glass after a recent practice to talk about his transition out of teendom and into professional hockey.
You scored twice in your debut, but what was it like scoring that first goal?
CG: It was an awesome feeling, being able to score in my first pro game is special. But credit goes to T.J. Tynan finding me with a beautiful pass backdoor, couldn’t make it any easier on myself!
You joined the Wolves for the playoffs last year but didn’t end up playing in a game. How excited are you to get on the ice and go on a playoff run with the guys?
CG: I’m looking forward to it. I got a taste of it last year, just practicing and sort of being a black ace. I feel like I’m ready to play in some games now and make that transition from junior to pro. I’m really looking forward to the opportunity here.
How have you liked Chicago so far this time around?
CG: I’ve been here a couple times for hockey tournaments and obviously the draft, so I’m familiar with that day and that was a special moment for me and for my family.
Now being here with the team, I love how everything is so close together, it’s all convenient. I’m around “Hagger” (Nic Hague) and “Cogs” (Dylan Coghlan) where we’re staying, so everybody is close together and it makes it a lot easier of a transition for me for sure.
Your birthday was on April 1 — how has 20 been so far?
CG: It’s good, a lot of people have been saying ‘halfway to 40’ so I’m not sure how to take that. But it’s nice not being a teenager anymore and obviously I made the transition to playing pro hockey so a lot of changes for sure. I actually was on a plane ride here in first class, so that was my birthday gift to myself. I came here and then Coghlan and Hague picked me up from the airport so it was good to see those guys right away, it was nice.
Does anyone ever think you’re joking when you say it’s your birthday?
CG: Kind of, I know my brother and my dad always give me a hard time about it. I never know if people are joking around with me or not. A couple of my buddies always play pranks on me and stuff like that. I don’t get it too bad, just my buddies back home.