by Staff Writer, All Habs Hockey Magazine
BROSSARD, QC. — Not every day do you hear about a 20-year-old guy who has the chance to become an NHL player and a medical professional. While both of these possibilities are still a ways away from becoming a reality, the rarity of this potential situation for Colin Sullivan is simply remarkable.
When Sullivan was selected 198th overall in the 2011 NHL entry draft by Montreal, he was just happy to be drafted. But two years later, he is working towards proving that thirty general mangers were wrong for letting him slip to the seventh round. At the same time, Sullivan is a student in the pre-medicine program at Boston College, a responsibility that requires much devotion. He concedes however, that balancing hockey with his lofty academic standards is not easy, “It’s definitely tough. Hockey takes up most of my day here at Boston College. We’re at the rink from one until probably six o’clock at night and our classes are in the morning. It definitely gets a bit stressful but at the same time, after practice I head back to my room, go right to the library and I get what I need to get done. After my hockey career I can see myself working as an orthopaedic surgeon, working on athletes and helping to prepare athletes. That’s definitely my dream and my thought process at this point.”
For those who are not so familiar with Sullivan’s playing style, it should be noted that size and versatility are definite strengths of his, “I’m a pretty big guy. And I don’t think you see a lot of guys who are my size who can skate the way that I do. I like to play in all situations: power-play, penalty-kill, and I like to shut down other teams top lines.”
The young defenseman gives the following reasons for choosing to attend Boston College, his love for the Boston Red Sox being atop the list, “Growing up my family’s from Boston. We’re all die-hard Red Sox fans and ever since I was little, I grew up around in the culture of watching Boston College hockey and my grandfather and my father both loved the school.”
However, Sullivan maintains that he is not a fan of the Boston Bruins despite being confronted about it by a reporter when he was drafted, “Actually, funny story, in one of my post draft interviews, one of the first questions that the interviewer asked me was if I was ready for the Boston Bruins because I was wearing a black and gold tie. So that was pretty funny because I got to experience the rivalry first hand.”
Although he still has a lot of work to do before he can play in the National Hockey League, Sullivan hopes he doesn’t have to wait too long before the Canadiens give him an opportunity, “Hopefully sooner rather than later. It really all depends on the upcoming years that I have here at Boston College. Who knows? It could be a year, two, three years from now. I just have to keep my fingers crossed and keep my head down and stay focused and keep on working hard. And hopefully the Montreal Canadiens will notice my hard work and I’ll be able to sign.”
As a kid, Sullivan looked up to Nicklas Lidstrom because of his leadership qualities and his ability to make the simple plays on the ice, “Nicklas Lidstrom. I originally was a forward and then when I switched to defense, I remember watching him and the Detroit Red Wings and with his style of play, he always kept it simple. So every time I’m on the ice, I just try to keep things simple like Nicklas Lidstrom used to do, and also, for his leadership skills. I don’t think there has been a better leader than him in the game today. He’s definitely a guy that character-wise and as a hockey player, he has certain traits that I aspire to be like.”
While Sullivan is still currently in the development stage of his career, he credits members of the Canadiens organization who have mentored him, including the club’s head of player development, “The head of player development for the defense is Patrice Brisebois and I have nothing but great things to say about that guy and I’m sure the fans know him very well. He’s a great standup guy and a nice person. Whenever I have a question about the game or if I had a bad game and I have to explain to him what I was doing wrong, he’s always there to hear me out and help me fix what I need to fix. He’s been an amazing guy the past few years who has helped me along on my path to hopefully becoming a Montreal Canadien.”
Finally, after working out with Habs forward Max Pacioretty throughout the summer, Sullivan believes that the sniper is a perfect role model for him, “Max Pacioretty for sure. He’s from my area. I played prep-school in Connecticut and he played prep-school hockey in Connecticut and I got the privilege to work out at the same gym that he works out at over the summer. So just to watch him in the gym and to see how he conducts himself, he just inspires me to go that much harder and I aspire to be like him.”
Sullivan is back at Boston College for at least another year where he hopes he can improve on last season. He cites that helping the Eagles win their fifth consecutive Beanpot is his objective for this season.