By: Jake Reiser
As Colin Wilson returned to Boston as a member of the Nashville Predators, it became apparent how ingrained hockey has been in Wilson’s life.
“My dad was No. 33, when I was younger and going to the rinks, I stayed with that number, now I kinda wish maybe I went with my own,” said Wilson with a laugh. “Yeah, my parents certainly had me playing hockey, and to be a third generation player as well.”
His father, Carey, is a 10-year veteran of the NHL, spending the majority of his time with the Calgary Flames, a year in Hartford and a year in New York. His move to the Big Apple proved fruitful as during the season, they welcomed Colin into the world. Despite being raised in Winnipeg, he remained a fan of the Blueshirts.
“I wasn’t much of a Bruins fan, I was a Rangers fan growing up, I was born in Greenwich (CT).”
His grandfather skated in three NHL games with the Montreal Canadiens, later on joining the Winnipeg Jets organization as a team doctor.
At 16, he made his break in a pre-professional hockey program, joining the US National Development Program.
“That’s really where I started taking off. They’re all about development, getting you bigger, stronger, faster, the coaches are all about getting you to the next level.”
After two seasons there, he made the decision to don the Scarlet and White, playing for Coach Jack Parker at Boston University.
“One of the reasons I went there is that there was a great coach, they knew how to win and how to turn players into pro athletes.”
The latter point proved fruitful for Wilson during his seasons as a Terrier. He scored 35 points in 37 games his freshman season, being named Hockey East Rookie of the Year, and New England College Hockey Rookie of the Year. That alone proved to be enough for him to get a call from the NHL. He was drafted seventh overall in the 2008 Entry Draft by the Nashville Predators.
His sophomore season proved even more productive, a 55-point campaign in 43 games, leading the Terriers to a Beanpot championship, a Hockey East championship and a National Championship title.
After the win, Wilson made the tough decision to leave the program and find his place in “The Show.” It doesn’t stick as a point of contention with Wilson that he left early, believing it should be on a case-by-case basis.
“It’s all up to them, I mean if you feel ready, then go, if you want to play in a pro game. If education is a huge part of your life and you want to do that, then I know that [Jimmy] Vesey is large into that and he wants to get his degree, so I commend him for that. But if you want to leave and go pro, why not?”
More than six years removed from Boston University, he still considers the city itself to be a place he holds close to him.
“I spend my summers here now, so it’s like a home to me. A lot of memories in the Garden, playing here for Beanpots and Hockey East finals, so it’s great.”