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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

An Interview with the First UMass Boston Hockey Player to Sign NHL Contract

History was made for the University of Massachusetts Boston Athletics on Monday, March 5, when Colin Larkin, a senior, become the first UMass Boston hockey player to sign a National Hockey League (NHL) contract. He was named New England Hockey Conference Player of the Year each of the last two seasons, but still defied all odds with his NHL entry-level contract.
The Mass Media had the chance to sit down with Colin to discuss his time at UMass Boston and what the future may hold for him in his hockey career.
MM: First of all, Colin, congratulations on your contract. It’s pretty amazing, and the whole campus is extremely proud of you.
CL: Thank you. Yeah, it means a lot and I’m very excited.
MM: Obviously, you had an uphill battle in making it to the NHL. Playing Division 3 hockey in college, it is rare that anyone makes it to the pros. Can you comment or reflect on what it means to represent UMass Boston, potentially on an NHL roster?
CL: Yeah, I mean I’m in the minors now so that’s where I’ll start. So to receive a contract, possibly at the pro level, is pretty cool. I’m proud to be a Beacon and to be from UMass Boston. I’m excited for the next step.

MM: At what point did you feel that making it to the NHL was a real possibility?

CL: That’s a good question. I was joking with my buddies about this. I was 14 and my dream was to get to the NHL. However, I was realistic with myself and decided that I would want to play college hockey. However, at the beginning of last year, I felt that I had a real chance of making it to the pros, and now that it is a real possibility, that is my goal.

MM: Were there any other teams in the mix for you, or just the Edmonton Oilers?

CL: Yeah, there were a few other teams in the mix. I don’t really want to say which teams, just to protect their names, but there was some negotiating going on, which is why it ended up taking a week or so to get done. It was definitely exciting to have so many teams that felt I could play at the next level, so for me it was really exciting to meet with executives from the NHL.

MM: Do you know how many teams exactly were in the mix?

CL: I’d say several is the most accurate way of putting it.

MM: Since you are starting in the NHL, do you have any idea about a time table with the Oilers? Like, will you be going to training camp with them in September?

CL: Yeah, I know I’ll be at development camp, and then hopefully training camp, and then the prospects tournament coming up next season. But there is a lot to learn, and a lot of hard work to be done to make it to the Oilers, so now I’m just excited to be in the American Hockey League.

MM: Have you spoken to your brother at any point since the signing? I know he was in Boston just last night, but you are in Bakersfield.

CL: Yeah, when I got the news he was the first person I called. He was elated. Him and I are very close so that was a really fun phone call to make. I actually got to meet him in Boston for breakfast. He gave me some tips on just how to be a pro and how to act and some of the nuances that come along with that. It was nice to be able to talk to him and have him so excited for me, as well as hear what he had to say about how to be a pro.

MM: So, are you going right into the season with the Condors?

CL: Yup. I started practice yesterday, and they have games on Saturday and Sunday, so I should know if I’m in the lineup by Friday. I expect to see some in-game action, if not this weekend then next weekend.

MM: How will you going about finishing your senior year if you plan to do so?

CL: I have four classes left, so I plan on finishing. I have worked with my teachers about going away for a month and a half. I assured them that I would get all the work done, and I expect to be back in April to finish all my work in the last month. I’m just extremely grateful for my teachers to allow me to take advantage of this opportunity right away.

MM: You obviously had a great career with UMB Hockey. Is there anything you will miss about the school, campus, or city?

CL: Yeah, I will miss my time in college. I loved being a Beacon. I’ll definitely miss my teammates and being able to do the day-to-day stuff with them. Playing for my school is something I’ll miss. I’ll miss the coaches, and just overall being a college hockey player. I loved being a part of this program, so I’ll miss being a college athlete for sure.

MM: Is there anything you would like to say about UMass Boston or to the University?
CL: I’m extremely proud to have gone to UMass Boston. It is a great school with great administration, amazing teachers, and as far as the athletics go, I think it all trickled down. I’m extremely grateful to have had great coaches in Coach Belisle and Coach Schneider. My teammates were amazing for four years. I had an amazing college experience at UMass Boston, and I think it was the best place and decision I could have made for both my hockey career and personal life.