Taking Liberties With… Cole Huggins
Position: Goaltender, Minnesota State University (WCHA)
Youth teams: DU Jr. Pioneers, Littleton Hawks, Colorado Thunderbirds
Colorado Rubber: What was your favorite hockey memory growing up?
Cole Huggins: Probably when I played in the Pee Wee tournament in Quebec. I thought it was the coolest place ever. They spoke French, their culture was different. That whole trip was really fun.
CR: What is your favorite memory in the game since leaving Colorado?
CH: Probably going to British Columbia (to play in the BCHL with the Langley Chiefs in 2011-12). That was a big decision because it was so far away from home – and a different country. I had only played in Colorado (until he was 18). It took a lot to get to main camp because I didn’t get any invites from NA (North American Hockey League) or USHL teams. Langley had an open camp in Colorado and I went two years in a row. Their assistant invited me to the main camp. Once I got there, they had 40 goalies on the ice at the same time.
CR: Now you’re doing something you had always dreamed of.
CH: I always wanted to play college hockey. That was my dream because I grew up watching DU games. I just took it one step at time. It wasn’t the end of the world if I didn’t make a junior team.
CR: Who have been the biggest influences on you on and off the ice?
CH: Littleton’s Brian TenEyck, all of his camps. I actually helped him later. Buddy Blom was the goalie coach when I was a Pee Wee. They taught me a lot when I was getting started. Kevin Whalen was an assistant for one of my teams and he was a big goalie guy as well.
CR: What advice would you give young hockey players?
CH: Just work hard and don’t expect anything to be given to you. Take it one day in a time. It goes really fast even if you don’t realize it at the moment. I feel like just yesterday I was just starting juniors and now I’m a senior in college. You can take it for granted sometimes.
CR: Are there are any pieces of gear you’re particular about?
CH: I’m not too picky. I like my pads more flexible. I just got some new pads and they’re pretty stiff right now. I don’t really care too much about tape jobs or anything.
CR: What are essential items to take on a road trip?
CH: I’m a bare essentials guy. I have to have something to read. I load up the iPad with books. Usually I have to take homework with me on the road. Other than that, I pack lightly.
CR: When you’re back in Colorado, do you have a favorite meal or restaurant?
CH: My mom always cooks nice filet mignon and twice baked potato. I miss those a lot.
CR: Did you have a favorite player growing up?
CH: It was probably Patrick Roy. His younger son, Frederick, played on a team one year up from me at Littleton. When we had joint practices, his dad would come to help out from time to time.
CR: What is your major?
CH: Earth science with a geology emphasis and a math minor. A lot of jobs require graduate school. I want to get into mining or maybe something with hydrogeology.
CR: What is the most challenging aspect of playing college hockey?
CH: I’d say the mental grind. Every weekend is more important than the weekend before. You know the team you’re facing is going to bring it as much as you are. It’s so hard to sweep. You’re preparing for the two games all week. There are fewer games than junior so you’re more ready for them. It’s hard to win.
Photo/Minnesota State Athletics
— Compiled by Chris Bayee