By Rosie Gillingham
and Andrew Robinson
It was less than two years ago that Colin Greening scored his first pro goal as a member of the American Hockey League’s Binghamton Senators.
Following a four-year career of collegiate hockey at Cornell University, the former St. John’s Midget Maple Leaf proved he had the skills to play professionally in the 2010-11 season.
After receiving a call-up to the Ottawa Senators in February 2011, Greening has managed to stick with the parent club ever since.
Last season, he played a full 82-game season as a forward, scoring 17 goals and adding 20 assists for 37 points in total. Four of those goals came on the power play, and Greening averaged more than 15 minutes of ice time per game.
He has defied the odds in making the NHL as a late-round draft pick for the Senators — he was picked in the seventh round, 204th overall in 2005.
In an interview last year with The Telegram, Greening attributed his success to a lot of hard work. That work ethic appears to have carried over to the classroom — he graduated from Cornell with a degree in applied economics and management with a grade point average of 3.99.
Last season, Greening and the Senators lost its first-round best-of-seven playoff series against the top seed in the Eastern Conference, the New York Rangers.
The Senators will look to do better this season, building on the continued development of recent James Norris Memorial Trophy winner Erik Karlsson (for best defenceman) and the play of veterans Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson.
Greening was recently in St. John’s for a visit home, but is now back in Chicago training for the upcoming season.
What is your full name?
Colin Peter Greening.
Where and when were you born?
March 1986, St. John’s.
What was one act of rebellion you committed as a youth?
I spray-painted a fence once. I was pretty young, but I got in a lot of trouble.
What is your favourite food?
It changes every day, but if I had to pick one, I’d have to say turkey dinner.
What are five CDs in your music collection?
Definitely Great Big Sea. It’s my way of staying connected with home. I also like Collective Soul, Linkin Park, Keith Urban and Billy Talent.
Do you have a favourite movie?
“Rudy.” It’s just a great, inspiring story. I watched it a lot growing up and I found it inspired me a lot, because as a kid, I wasn’t exactly the biggest either, so I could relate to it a lot.
Who would play you in a movie about your life?
Everyone says I look like the Russian guy from “Rocky IV” (Dolph Lundgren). So, I guess it’d be him.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
To be honest, just getting my mind off hockey. I like to do community work or read. Also, because of the situation I’m in, I go from city to city. Whenever I can, I like to explore the cities I go to. I also strum the guitar a bit. By strum, I mean exactly that. I don’t play.
What is your greatest regret?
To be honest, I don’t have any regrets. Sure, there are a number of things I wish I could take back, but I don’t focus on them. Maybe it’s a cliché, but I really hate what I could’ve done. Leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
What bugs you?
The amount of reality TV on these days. My dad (Fred Greening, a local CBC producer) was in broadcasting and he explained to me how cheap it is to make those shows. Some of the stuff on TV, I don’t know how people can watch it — shows like “Keeping up with the Kardashians.”
What are your best and worst qualities?
My best is my work ethic. I feel I work extremely hard at everything I do. I’m extremely driven. My worst is that I’m anal retentive. Sometimes I’m too organized, to the point where I get worked up and overwhelmed.
Who inspires you?
My parents always inspire me, but there is also someone else. A friend of mine passed away about six or seven weeks ago from cancer. He was diagnosed last September and the entire time, he had such a positive attitude. That was inspiring for me and the rest of our friends.
What is your most treasured possession?
One thing I will never get rid of is a watch my parents gave me for Christmas in 2005. It was the first really nice watch I ever got. I still wear it to this day.
What is your personal motto?
Do what others won’t.
Who is one person, living or deceased, you’d love to have lunch with?
Joey Smallwood. I’ve always really respected him. My dad was in broadcasting and he showed me clips of him. He had a real presence. I would love to sit and chat with him.
What would you do if you won the lottery?
I’d take care of my family first, take care of myself and my girlfriend, buy a nice house, go on a nice vacation. Then, play the stock market and see it dwindle away.
Do you have any nicknames?
One name I got stuck with growing up was Baby G. That was because I had a baby face. I still do have a young-looking face, but at that time, I was just really small. A group of my friends came to see me play in a game in Calgary not long ago and they made up T-shirts that had “BABY G FANCLUB” written on them. I hadn’t heard that name in nine years, so it was funny to see it.
What do you remember most about your childhood?
Growing up on Kilkenny Street, we played a lot of street hockey. We had a park behind. A lot of memories revolved around that.
What is your biggest fear?
I’m actually very, very afraid of sharks. I think they’re cool and love to see them on TV, but if I was ever in water with a shark, I’d freak out. Maybe I watched the “Jaws” movies too much as a kid.
What is the most difficult thing you've ever done?
Moving away from home when I was 17. Not only that, I moved away from home and essentially did the exact opposite from what everyone else did. I had to make that choice — to go the same road everyone else was going, or take a chance on a path that worked for me. That was the toughest decision of my life.