Every NHL player remembers their first appearance in a regular-season game. They also remember their first goal, and perhaps even their first shot on goal.
Glass, the first selection in the Golden Knights’ first-ever draft class, scored his first goal on the first shot of his career. And, of course, he was named the first star of his first regular-season NHL game.
Not too shabby!
The Winnipeg native made it clear over the summer that his goal was to be playing in the NHL this season. After a strong showing in the Calder Cup Playoffs last spring — seven goals and 15 points in 22 postseason games with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves — Glass entered training camp with the benefit of having previously played against grown men in the minors.
That experience wound up being quite valuable for him.
After a solid training camp and a couple good showings in the preseason, Glass finally got the good news he’d been waiting for — he made the Golden Knights’ roster out of camp, and he made the most of his first opportunity in the lineup.
“It felt like a dream come true,” Glass said of his first goal after the game. “A lot of emotions at the time, especially with a lot of my family in the crowd, but it was a nice play by [Max Pacioretty] and [Mark Stone] to get it started.”
No kidding. Thanks to a gorgeous pass from Stone to an uncovered Pacioretty along the half boards, Glass was able to find some open ice and one-time Pacioretty’s feed past Martin Jones to give Vegas the two-goal lead early in the second period.
“Whenever that kid goes out on the ice, he just goes out there, sees a play and makes it,” said Pacioretty of Glass. “You don’t see too many young guys with that mentality. I’ve never seen one, to be honest. And that’s what makes him so special and why he’ll keep improving.”
Having scored that first goal, one could assume Glass was calm, cool and collected going into his first game as an NHLer, but that wasn’t exactly the case. Glass fully admitted that he was a bit nervous before puck drop. It’s only natural, especially with 18,588 screaming fans in attendance (a new regular-season record for the Golden Knights).
He couldn’t even fall asleep for his pregame nap.
“It was terrible,” said Glass. “It was one of those sleeps where my eyes were closed, but I was still wide awake. I just couldn’t do anything.”
Luckily, Pacioretty, who spent most of the night playing on a line with Glass, managed to keep the 20-year-old focused.
“I was nervous going into it, but I remember [Pacioretty] tapping me on the pads and he said ‘Congratulations, your first NHL game, just do what you did to get here,’ and I just kind of took that and just rolled with it.”
Of course, Glass’ night wasn’t perfect — few players ever have perfect performances. But despite the jitters and the obvious challenge of facing off against some of the best hockey players on the planet, Glass did exactly what the Vegas coaches were hoping to see from him.
“We just told him ‘Go out there and play, Cody. You’re gonna make mistakes like every other player, so go out there and play, and play your game,’” said Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant.
“Good for the kid. Happy for him. He’s got 81 more games to do it.”