Flames prospect Coda Gordon happy to return to Saddledome
Swift Current Bronco, who is from Cochrane, focusing on WHL playoffs, but he’ll soon turn attention to pro career
Coda Gordon doesn’t have to imagine scoring at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
The Cochrane native has already done it — and well before embarking on his junior career in the Western Hockey League.
One night, as one of those seven-year-olds tagged to entertain the crowd between periods of Calgary Flames home dates, Gordon had dashed down the ice and bagged a goal. The feat, more than half a lifetime ago, came during the intermission of a St. Louis Blues visit.
The Flames, some day, will be counting on him to score more at the Saddledome.
The Swift Current Broncos, right now, are counting on him to score at the Saddledome — against the rival Calgary Hitmen.
“You’re always trying to impress people,” Gordon, a product of the Edge School for Athletes, was saying Thursday morning before Game 1 against the Hitmen. “There’s always someone that you have to play for. And obviously you’re playing for yourself.”
But what about this?
Playing in your home town? Playing at the headquarters of your future employers?
“Yeah, there’s always that extra pressure in the back of the mind,” said Gordon, a 2012 sixth-round pick. “But I’m just trying to focus on the game, focus on playoffs, helping my team win.”
Last winter — the forward’s first in the WHL — Gordon popped in 30 pucks (“a lot of garbage goals”), which caught the eyes of the Flames.
“An offensive, scoring winger,” Tod Button, the Flames’ director of amateur scouting, said during draft weekend in Pittsburgh. “A lot of skill. Skating is his biggest issue, for sure. But the other stuff is there — the hockey sense, the skill. For us, it’s getting everything else in order before we worry about the skating.”
The kid doesn’t dispute the report.
“I’m a bit slower,” said Gordon. “But I have pretty good vision. I see the ice well and I’m able to make plays and adjust my speed to other players and let the puck do the work, find openings and get to the net.”
This past season, the goal total dipped to 17, but his points improved from 53 to 59. Gordon insists the 2012-13 version is closer to the truth.
“I’ve usually always been a playmaker,” said Gordon, who nearly doubled his assists this winter. “I think this is just going back to the way I usually am. I thought (the regular season) was pretty good. Obviously, there were some inconsistent parts to my game that I would’ve liked to fix, to correct, earlier than I did.
“But overall, I thought I improved as a player and continued to grow.”
Gordon participated in the Flames’ development camp this summer at WinSport’s Ice Complex. He had been impressed by the talent levels of Sven Baertschi and Johnny Gaudreau.
“It’s a good experience,” the six-foot-one, 180-pounder said. “Pretty eye-opening . . . to see a lot of the AHL guys and high draft picks and compare yourself to them and see what you need as a player to move onto the next step. It was definitely nerve-racking at the start, especially not knowing anyone. But once I got settled in and just started to play hockey, everything started to go from there.”
Because of the NHL’s work stoppage, the Flames did not stage a fall rookie camp. Meaning Gordon still has that adventure in front of him.
“It would have been nice to get that experience, just to see what camp is like, see the pace is like. But there’s always next year.”
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