Cochrane product aims to triumph over injuries
Thrilled to be drafted by Flames, Gordon is a promising member of the Swift Current Broncos
By Vicki Hall, Calgary Herald
June 24, 2012
Cochrane’s Coda Gordon has suffered some serious injuries in his recent hockey career, but the Flames still believe the sixth-rounder has the tools to make the NHL one day.
Photograph by: Graig Abel , NHLI via Getty Images
One year ago at this time, Coda Gordon figured he was a long-shot, at best, to crack the Swift Current Broncos.
So the Cochrane kid is not about to complain about waiting until the sixth round Saturday for a team to claim him in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
Especially after the hometown Calgary Flames called his name with the 165th overall pick at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.
“It’s pretty exciting to watch the Flames my whole life, cheer for them and then be a part of them,” Gordon said, sounding somewhat in a daze. “Jarome Iginla has always been my favourite guy and then Mike Cammalleri. It’s pretty exciting. It hasn’t hit me yet that I’m going to be wearing that jersey.”
On the surface, Gordon’s numbers appear nothing short of terrific for a kid taken in the sixth round. In his WHL rookie season, he collected 30 goals and 53 points in 66 games.
“I was thrilled with that pick,” said assistant general manager John Weisbrod. “He needs to work on his skating. We acknowledge that. I think that’s why he fell to where he did. But all the other intangibles that we value were there in spades. Skating is the most fixable trait, as we always say.”
And, in Gordon’s case, a tangible reason exists for his struggles in that area.
“That’s been the big thing for me ever since I broke my femur — is getting my skating back,” the Edge School product said. “That’s the biggest critique my most people I talk to, and obviously I realize that myself. So I’m just this summer looking to do everything I can to improve that — to get it back to normal.”
At 14, Gordon broke his left femur (or thigh bone) in a bantam AA game with the Bow Valley Timberwolves. In an unfortunate sequence of events, Gordon threw his hands up in the air to mark an empty- net goal by his buddy Mitch Messier.
“I went to celebrate, and I kind of got tripped from behind,” said the six foot, 175-pounder. “And then just the way I fell, it I snapped it in a couple of places. So I was out for a little while.”
A little while? Gordon spent five days at the Alberta Children’s Hospital to recover from surgery to insert two 12-inch rods that held things together from the point of impact to the knee. He missed pretty much the entire season.
“I was in a fully body cast for a while, too,” said Gordon, who turns 18 this summer. “The break was high enough that it was too painful for me to move if they just casted my leg.
“So I had a cast from my ankle all the way up my leg and then up to my chest.”
Once fully recovered, Gordon enrolled in summer hockey, only to break his collarbone.
Once that healed, he tried out for the AAA bantam team and made the cut.
“At the start of that season I broke my arm,” he sighed. “It definitely wasn’t the best year for me.”
With the injuries behind him, Gordon made the most of the opportunity last season to play Swift Current.
“I’m nothing too flashy,” Gordon said. “ I think I kind of see the ice well, and I’m able to make plays. I seem to be in the right place at the right time and kind of get garbage goals in and around the net.
“Nothing fancy. Tips and rebounds and stuff like that.”
Instead of sitting at home Saturday to watch the draft via computer, Gordon opted to take his mind off the proceedings by playing three-on-three hockey in a tournament at the Edge School.
“I was actually on the ice,” Gordon said in a break from the action. “I’m glad the call came at the end of the game, because I don’t think I would have been able to concentrate.”
Concentration and focus might be hard for Gordon to come by with the Flames’ summer development camp looming in early July.
Being drafted is one thing. Being drafted by the hometown team is quite another.
Especially for a kid who went through so much to get to this point.
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald