When I think of "leader", the name Cody Bass immediately comes to mind. Bass, the "leader" will never be confused with "scoring machine". That's OK, because when Bass signed with the Blue Jackets this summer, he brought to the club not just leadership, but character.
Bass was last year's AHL Man of the Year, based primarily on his founding of "WINGS", which stands for "When I Need Guidance and Support", a support network for teen suicide prevention.
On the ice, Bass was the captain of the Calder Cup Champion Bingamton Senators. Inspirational on and off the ice, Bass is the kind of quality individual that Scott Howson wants in the Blue Jackets organization.
Incorporating our "Job Fair" format, what follows is how Cody MIGHT answer the questions if I were on one side of the desk and he were on the other.
Standard Cannon Disclaimer: This series will be presented in the form of a mock job interview. The operative word here is mock. We're presenting these from the perspective of the player, as if they were applying for a job with the Jackets. The players themselves aren't involved, so don't contact the team if you disagree with one of their answers! Thirty players will be interviewed, even existing players. Yes, even Nasher will have to get put through the wringer. We hope you enjoy!
Q) Cody, tell us a little about yourself.
A) I was born on January 7, 1987 in Owen Sound, Ontario. I grew up in Guelph, Ontario where I played my youth hockey. I played my major junior hockey mostly with the Mississauga IceDogs, finishing up with the Saginaw Spirit. I played for Team Canada in the 2004 Under 18 Junior World Cup, where we won the gold medal. The following year, I was again a member of Team Canada in the tournament and we won silver.
I was drafted in the fourth round of the 2005 Entry Draft by the Ottawa Senators. I've played parts of six seasons for the Binghamton Senators of the AHL, capping it off with winning the Calder Cup last season.
Q) Tell us about some intangibles you could bring to the Blue Jackets.
A) I am a physical player, usually a center although I can move to the wing when its needed. I like to think that the way I conduct myself inspires others to maybe make them look a little deeper, hopefully to make them a better player, or more importantly, a better person. Specifically, on the ice, I like to bring a physical presence that increases my teammates ability to put the puck in the net.
Q) What areas of your game do you think you can improve on?
A) Sometimes as a result of my physical play, my own scoring efforts take a back seat. I'd like to focus a little more on being the player who can set up in front of the opponent's net and is able to bang a few more pucks home.
Q) Can you give us some examples of your hockey accomplishments?
A) It was a thrill to win the gold medal in the under 18 World Juniors, not as satisfying to come back the following year with silver, but now that there's been quite a few years since then, the silver medal wasn't a bad thing. Last year, while not a big statistical year for me, being the captain of a Calder Cup championship team was great. Finally, being named the AHL's Man of the Year was an incredible honor. The WINGS program was one of those things that needed to be done, and if we help just one troubled teen along the way, then we've been successful.