Colby Huggan’s path in the game of hockey is eerily similar to Slyvester Stallone’s speech from the 2006 hit film “Rocky Balboa”
Huggan has been hit hard his entire life by the skeptics and critics for being too small to have an impact. Nevertheless, the kid from Charlottetown, had always taken the hits and kept moving forward literally and figuratively.
“The steps were pretty clear for my trainer and I over the off season,” Huggan said when asked about this past offseason.
“Clearly, it was all about getting me has big as possible, but still be able to use my speed.”
“There was a lot of strength training and eating over the summer,” confessed Huggan.
No one that has ever seen Colby Huggan play the game has ever questioned his skill, IQ or character.
Huggan is a skilled throwback player that takes great pride in playing a skilled efficient game in all three zones.
Perhaps the largest hit of Huggan’s hockey career happened during the final hours of training camp in Cape Breton.
“When I got released from Cape Breton I was probably the most disappointed I have ever been
in my life.”
“I worked so hard over the summer to put on 17 pounds or so on including muscle.”
“I went to camp with one goal and I didn’t accomplish that goal.”
The young Islander’s dream to play in the QMJHL was quickly fading.
“I requested a trade from there because I believed if the right team picked me up, I could play in the league.”
“I just needed a chance.”
“The Armada took that chance and I’m very grateful,” confessed Huggan.
Being a “small” player, takes on many different complexities in today’s era of the game.
Huggan has always possessed the uncanny ability to make players around him better. He has always had a massive impact in all areas of the game throughout his path to the Q. How difficult will it be to continue that trend at the Q level?
“It hasn’t impacted my game much,” admitted Huggan.
“I just have to concentrate on my pre game and post game, and make sure my body is feeling good.”
Being a “small” player hasn’t impacted my game here in Blainville-Boisbriand.”
“ I just have to work ten times harder then everyone else.”
A change of scenery or a new beginning, either way Huggan has found a new lease and appreciation about the game.
“It’s amazing here,” Huggan said of his new home away from home.
“When I got the call saying I was going to Blainville, I instantly got goosebumps.”
“I was thrilled to be going to such a great organization with a great culture.”
“Being part of this young talented, hard working team has been amazing.”
“We’re off to a great start to the season,” Huggan said.
Obviously, when the Cape Breton Eagles drafted Huggan, he was anxious to be able to play close to home in the Maritimes. That has certainly changed since being acquired by the Armada.
“Being away from home hasn’t been difficult at all.”
“I thought I was going to struggle with that, but my billets Serge, and Marie have been just amazing taking me into their home.”
“They are my second family.”
Huggan’s family on and off the ice has certainly impacted his transition into the QMJHL.
“I have a billet brother, I’m living with Charles Edward Gravel.
“We get a long so well, it’s fun having a brother,” said Huggan.
Family is everything for Huggan, their impact certainly isn’t lost on the young skilled forward.
“I’m very grateful of my family.”
“All of the sacrifices they have made for me doesn’t go unnoticed.”
“When I told them I was cracking a spot on the roster for opening night, they were so happy.”
“Words can’t describe what they were feeling.”
“To have them in the stands for that game was a moment that will last a lifetime,” confessed Huggan.
What and who did the young Islander think of when he step on Q ice for the first time.
“My thoughts before the game was just “it’s another game go do what you do”, but I was also thinking about all my family back home who was watching and how grateful I was for them.”
“My family have always been with me through the ups in my hockey career, but they have been there for all the of downs.”
It’s been a long and winding road for Huggan and his family. They continue to put everything in perspective which has certainly grounded their son. For now Colby Huggan is doing his best to stay in the moment and enjoy every second of his rookie season in the Q.
“I can’t picture where I will see myself at the end of the season.”
“I have been taking my journey here day by day, shift by shift, practise by practise, workout by workout.”
“I’m soaking everything up and being the best I can be..”
“To be an impact player in the Q I have to be the hardest worker and just be myself.
Huggan is quick to credit Armada Head Coach Bruce Richardson for his early success and seamless transition into the QMJHL.
“Bruce has been a true role model.”
“He is a great coach, and is really going to help me to get me to that next level of my play.”
“Bruce knows I’m a small player and he was too when he played.”
“He gives me tips here and there, but he lets me play my game. We added some more tools to my tool box which will help me as I progress in my QMJHL career.”
“It ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward.”
Colby Huggan has taken all of the hits on and off the ice, but he keeps moving forward and that’s how winning is done.