By Connor Powell ‘18
Merrimack College had the privilege to have Collin Delia, a 24 year old from Rancho Cucamonga, CA, play for their hockey team for the past 3 seasons.
This past Spring, Delia signed contract to become a member of the Chicago Blackhawks organization. Delia finished his college career with 56 games played, a 21-24-10 record, a 2.48 goals against average and .912 save percentage. Delia currently is playing for the Rockford Icehogs, a AHL affiliate of the Blackhawks.
Over the past two years, Delia has been to NHL development camps of several teams including the Buffalo Sabres, Anaheim Ducks, and Washington Capitals. There was one team though, that he truly proved himself to and that was the Chicago Blackhawks.
After spending three years at Merrimack as a civil-engineering major, he got used to a certain lifestyle on and off the ice. Living at college compared to living in the real world is different to say the least and Delia agrees.
“NHL and AHL lifestyle is vastly different from my experience at Merrimack. In the professional ranks, there seems to be a lot more free time in comparison to the hyper-structured lifestyle in a college environment.” Said Delia
Delia had a terrific career at Merrimack. He came into his college career with a lot of talent already, but playing division I hockey in Hockey East, helps with pro level recruitment.
“They’ve been sniffing since day one” said Merrimack College head hockey coach Mark Dennehy, when asked about when NHL teams started looking at Delia.
Delia finished his first college season with only 9 games played. This doesn’t give pro teams a lot of stats to look at, but that all changed his sophomore year. Delia’s role increased significantly as he finished the year with 26 games played, a career high in that stat for Delia. He started the 2016-17 season with an injury, but at the end of January, Merrimack and Delia got hot. Delia and the team went on a stretch where they did not have a regulation loss for eight straight games.
“You’re team plays more confident because they have confidence in the goalie- that’s kinda coaching nirvana.” Said Coach Dennehy.
At the end of the 2016-17 season Delia, finished with a 2.15 goals against average and a .927 save percentage. This cemented him as one of the best goaltenders to play at Merrimack in the storied program’s history.
“What I’ll miss most about playing at Merrimack is not only the relationships I formed with my teammates, but playing for such a passionate community. Getting to know the students, staff and fans personally made playing worth much more. I had a great sense of pride and purpose pulling the MC jersey over my head, understanding that it didn’t just represent the Merrimack hockey team, but the entire Merrimack community. I am truly honored to have played at Merrimack for the past three years and I look forward for what is to come. Thank you to my teammates, coaches, peers, and fans that made my time at Merrimack one of the best experiences of my life.”