CALGARY, AB -- Like most Canadian kids, Calgary Flames prospect Coda Gordon dreamed of one day playing in the NHL.
A two-season stretch starting when the Calgary native was 14-years-old almost ended that dream.
It started out with a pretty innocuous play.
It was about seven games into the season, and Gordon’s Bow Valley Timberwolves had just scored an empty netter late to seal the victory.
As Gordon put his arms up for the celebration, an opposing player tripped him up from behind.
“I never felt a pain like that before,” Gordon told CalgaryFlames.com during the Flames development camp.
Based on the way his leg twisted and his fall, his left femur was snapped in half.
Two 12-inch rods were implanted in his leg, running from his knee up to his growth plate. The doctor said she tried a procedure she’d never done before.
But after surgery, he was confident he’d be back on the ice – it was just going to be a very long time.
It started with a lower-body cast from his ankle up to his midsection, and he said he spent five weeks on the La-Z-Boy.
“My parents helped and my friends would come visit me but not a lot of movement off the couch,” Gordon said.
Soon came the wheelchair, which allowed him to head back to the rink to watch the games.
Then it was physiotherapy and rehab. A chiropractor was needed because his left leg was about an inch shorter than his right leg.
His first year of bantam hockey was finished.
His next year wasn’t going to be much better.
He broke his collarbone in spring hockey, and a few months later, he suffered a broken arm in a body check. That season was almost a wash as well.
He admits the injuries likely hurt his draft stock with the Western Hockey League, going undrafted.
“It probably hurt a lot but it is what it is. The big part was trying to get back as soon as I could and start trying to work my stride back. I had a limp for a long time,” Gordon said.
However, the dream wasn’t over.
He earned a spot with the Swift Current Broncos, and in his rookie season, he topped the 30-goal plateau and added 23 assists for 53 points.
The Flames selected him as their 6th round selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, and he followed it up with another productive season in Speedy Creek, scoring 17 goals, while adding 42 assists for 59 points as he helped lead the Broncos to a playoff appearance.
Now he’s back in Calgary for the development camp, and is eager to show the organization what he’s capable of.
“Just show them that I could plan and hopefully and that I’m still improving from last time and hope to eventually sign a contract.”
Not bad for a guy who had the strongest bone in his body snapped in two like it was a popsicle stick.
“I’m lucky that I was able to go through all of that, and still make it to where I wanted to go. I’m just thankful that the injuries didn’t affect me too much.”
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