Taking Liberties With… Joe Colborne
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Position: Forward, Colorado Avalanche
Hometown: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Height/Weight: 6-fot-5, 221 pounds
Last amateur team: University of Denver (then WCHA)
Acquired: Signed as a free agent on July 1, 2016
Colorado Rubber: What’s your favorite hockey memory growing up?
Joe Colborne: Watching the Flames go to the Stanley Cup Finals (in 2004). Personally, probably playing in the playoffs two years ago with the Flames. Seeing the city come together was pretty awesome. As a kid, winning our league in juniors (with the Calgary Kodiaks) both years, second year especially because we won Game 7 at home. That was special. Beating Boston College in our Christmas tournament here (2009 Denver Cup) was special, too. And probably winning the Gold Pan back (in 2009-10) was really special — seeing ‘Gwoz’ (DU coach George Gwozdecky) getting that jacked up in the dressing room.
CR: What advice do you have for a young hockey player and/or their parents?
JC: It’s got to come from the kid. If the kid doesn’t want it and you’re trying to force him, you’re just going to ruin your relationship with the kid. And for the kid, don’t let people say you can’t do it. There are people who are going to tell you that you’re either too small, too slow or whatever it is. It’s a long road and although it sucks at the time, getting cut can sometimes be a blessing in disguise.
CR: Who has been the biggest influence on you, on and off the ice?
JC: My parents. That’s pretty obvious because without them putting in the time and effort and financial responsible that comes with it, none of us would be where we are. Outside of them, I’d say Boris Rybalka, my coach in juniors. He really took me from being a raw, young boy and turned me into a top hockey player ready to move on and do some good things.
CR: Other than hockey, what’s your favorite sport to play?
JC: Growing up, it was baseball. My grandpa was a minor-league pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals and my dad was a pitcher as well. I played competitively until I was 14 and loved it. Now, it’s golf.
CR: If you weren’t playing hockey, what would you be doing?
JC: Maybe playing baseball. Since I was 16, I thought I had a good chance to make this my career and I’ve put everything into it. I’m sure a lot of stuff would have changed if I hadn’t played hockey, but I’m fortunate that my hard work has paid off.
CR: Any pieces of your gear that you’re particular about?
JC: Sticks. I’m crazy with my sticks, always tinkering with them and changes game by game. I’m sure it drives the equipment guys crazy, but I’ve been like that forever.
CR: What are your essential items to take on a road trip?
JC: Toothbrush. That’s key. iPad, phone charger. Other than that, I’m a real light packer.
CR: What is your favorite restaurant in the Denver area and what are you ordering?
JC: Probably have to go with Elway’s. Hard to find a steak that good anywhere. It was one of the first things I did when I got back here this summer, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed.
CR: Who was your favorite player growing up?
JC: Al MacInnis and then Jarome (Iginla). It was awesome to get to play against (Iginla) and the first time he came back to Calgary after being traded, I was on the other side of the bench. Now that I get a chance to play with him is a really cool story for me.
CR: What is the most challenging aspect of playing in the NHL?
JC: There’s never an easy shift out there. If you let one guy get behind you, it’s in the back of your net.
Photo/Michael Martin via NHLI/Getty Images
– Compiled by Mike Chambers