Nobody had to tell Colin Greening about the exclusive group he joined by suiting up for the Ottawa Senators last season.
The native of St. John’s is well aware that only a handful of Newfoundlanders have ever made it to the National Hockey League. And the big forward is proud to be a member of that club after seeing 24 games worth of action with the Sens in 2010-11.
But the thrills didn’t stop there for Greening, a seventh-round selection (204th overall) by the Senators in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. The Cornell University grad also had a hand in the Binghamton Senators’ run to the Calder Cup crown in June.
And already, he’s made an impact with the big club this season, producing four goals and four assists to rank among the NHL’s top rookie scorers in the early stages of the 2011-12 campaign.
Greening took some time out to talk hockey and more with ottawasenators.com:
Q: Who was your hockey hero growing up?
A: Doug Gilmour, hands down. I loved the way he played.
Q: How big a dream is it for a kid from St. John’s, Newfoundland, to be an NHL player?
A: In Newfoundland, where you’re a little bit secluded, you have these dreams of getting off the island and making it to the bigs. To be able to have played those games last year (in Ottawa) was a dream come true for me. It is pretty rare for someone from Newfoundland to make it from the NHL. To be a part of that group is pretty special.
Q: Your favourite part of the Calder Cup run in Binghamton last season?
A: I’ll always remember that first series we played against Manchester. It’s probably one of the most emotional rollercoasters I’ve ever gone through. After that series, because we had to go through so much as a team to battle back and win four games in overtime, it just set us up for the rest of the run. It was such a phenomenal experience.
Q: How did your four years at Cornell help your hockey development?
A: On top of getting bigger and stronger and working on my skill set, off the ice, you get an appreciation for community service and you get exposed to different social circles. You learn about a life outside of hockey. It gives you a well-rounded education and prepares you for life in general. I take hockey very, very seriously and it’s my passion. I love hockey. But going to college showed me there’s another world outside of hockey.
Q: What was your best memory at Cornell?
A: Winning the ECAC championship. It was a culmination of four years of hard work. Each year, it seemed like we took the necessary steps to get that much closer to it. So that was special for me, to win it in my senior year.
Q: What did you study there?
A: Fine economics and management. It’s basically a fancy phrase for business.
Q: If you could have dinner for any three people, living or dead, who would you pick?
A: First, I’d pick Joey Smallwood. He’s a former premier of Newfoundland and he’s well respected by all Newfoundlanders. Magic Johnson would be pretty cool to have dinner with, too. And I’ll go with Michael Jordan as well.
Q: If you’re cooking dinner, what’s on the menu?
A: I usually make some garlic pepper and basil potatoes. I’ll have some steak with it and some steamed vegetables.
Q: Your favourite music?
A: I’m a huge, huge Great Big Sea fan. I saw them this summer at the George Street Festival (in St. John’s) and I brought me girlfriend down. That was a mandatory visit.
Q: Your favourite TV show?
A: Right now, I’d say Modern Family.