Dedication, hard work pays off for Greening

Kenn Oliver
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After signing contract with Sens, St. John's native begins preparing for a pro hockey career

With his first professional hockey contract inked, one of the first things Colin Greening wants to do is give back to two people who gave so much to help get him where is today.

"It's going to nice to maybe buy (his mom and dad) some stuff for once," Greening remarked Tuesday from Ithaca, N.Y., where he attends Cornell University.

Colin Greening

With his first professional hockey contract inked, one of the first things Colin Greening wants to do is give back to two people who gave so much to help get him where is today.

"It's going to nice to maybe buy (his mom and dad) some stuff for once," Greening remarked Tuesday from Ithaca, N.Y., where he attends Cornell University.

Greening, who graduates in a few week with a 3.95 grade point average, signed a two-way, one-year entry level contract with the Ottawa Senators Saturday.

He was second in scoring for the Big Red this season with 15 goals and 20 assists in 34 games, and was a first-team All-Ivy League player, a second-team All-ECAC all-star and a candidate for the Hobey Baker Award, as U.S. college hockey's best player.

While Greening wasn't prepared to talk numbers, the website capgeek.com reports the six-foot-two, 210-pound forward stands to make $735,000 at the NHL level and $62,500 in the American Hockey League.

Greening also received a sizeable signing bonus, although he didn't divulge the amount.

"It won't offset all of it, but it'll definitely help me pay back a lot of the loans I took out to attend Cornell.

"That's a real bonus."

The 24-year-old Greening, a native of St. John's, knows he's one of the fortunate ones. Backed by an education from a prestigious school and about to begin a pro hockey career, he knows he is living every little boys' dream. But with the work he's put in to get there, it's well deserved.

But the way he sees it, getting this far is just "the first step."

"You can take time to reflect on it and be happy," Greening said, "but reality has to set back in and you have to realize this is where the real work begins. My dream has been to make it to the NHL and it's going to be a tough couple of months or even years to get there."

"When I go into camp, I'm gonna have to knock some people out of their positions and that's a very difficult thing to do."

The Sens have already indicated he'll most likely be going to Binghamton of the AHL to get a feel for pro the game.

"If I end up starting in Binghamton, I don't see that as a step back," Greening suggests. "It's just an opportunity to get more ice time at the AHL level to learn and prepare so I give myself a chance at moving up."

He's three or four years older than a player graduating from the junior ranks to the pros, and with just the one-year deal, Greening knows he will probably have a shorter time frame in which to make an impression than most of the Senators' other signed rookies. However, with the maturity he gained balancing a challenging college work load and playing for and co-captaining the Big Red men's hockey team, he feels prepared for anything that comes his way.

"Being able to handle a pro game and handle off-ice activities is something I've prided myself on over the last four years. That's something I need to prove to the organization, that I'm ready to take on a grinding schedule of 82 games.

"As a 24-year-old guy, I really have to prove that I can play in the game."

At the end of his contract, Greening will be a group 2 restricted free agent.

For his part, Greening says NCAA hockey is a "more intense" game with older, more experienced players and as such those emerging from the system are generally more prepared for the transition to pro.

"You have people who can range from 17 to 25, so sometimes you really have men playing against boys, so you need to be physically and mentally mature for that."

Greening knows how he does - and where he does it - in the fall and winter will depend on the work he puts in this summer, as well as the determination he shows during camp.

"And I'm pretty confident in how I'll prepare. I'm vigilant when it comes to working out and I try to get on the ice as much as I can."

One option is to resume training with Bob Thompson, who has worked with countless Newfoundland-born players including NHLers Teddy Purcell and Ryane Clowe.

"If worse comes to worse, I'll just train by myself," said Greening.

"Sometimes, it gets a little daunting when you're working out by yourself, but I don't think that'll happen. Either, one of my friends will be back or I'll work out a deal to train with someone."

Greening will attend the Sens' two-week development camp in late June and return home in early July for six or seven weeks before training camp.

koliver@thetelegram.com

Organizations: U.S. college, American Hockey League, NHL Cornell University Ottawa Senators All-Ivy League NCAA

Geographic location: St. John's, Ithaca, N.Y., Binghamton Newfoundland

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Recent comments

  • Edmund
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    Good story. Keep up the hard work and I am sure you will make the big time. Congratulations Colin.

  • Hockey Mom
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Way to go Colin!!! Great to hear our Newfoundland boys are doing so well......

  • Kevin
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    Best of luck in the pros and congrats on your University degree.

  • Con
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    Colin:

    Warm congratulations and well done. if you play hockey as well as you played soccer, the NHL will be lucky.

    Con Steers, Father of Charlie (Seatons).

  • Anna
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    Congratulations on a job well done.

  • Edmund
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    Good story. Keep up the hard work and I am sure you will make the big time. Congratulations Colin.

  • Hockey Mom
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    Way to go Colin!!! Great to hear our Newfoundland boys are doing so well......

  • Kevin
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    Best of luck in the pros and congrats on your University degree.

  • Con
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    Colin:

    Warm congratulations and well done. if you play hockey as well as you played soccer, the NHL will be lucky.

    Con Steers, Father of Charlie (Seatons).

  • Anna
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    Congratulations on a job well done.