Gabriel Colona has been around hockey all his life. He grew up in Philadelphia where hockey is ultra-popular, and therefore he was hooked on the sport rather easily.
Hockey didn’t come easily to Colona at first. Colona said he started playing hockey at five years old. He described himself as “terrible” when he was first learning the game. “To be honest I was more of a football player at that age. I used to actually be pretty small in high school.”
About half way through high school, Colona said he got a big growth spurt. That added size helped him greatly when it came to hockey. “I didn’t get hit as often,” said Colona on the difference size made for his game. “It was nice because I went from the guy everyone was after to the guy everyone avoided. I think size really does help.”
With the added size, Colona’s hockey career took off. He ended up playing hockey at the DII NCAA level for Saint Anselm College. However, he would eventually choose Delaware over playing in the NCAA.
Colona was surprised when he got here by the intensity level of each of the games. “We have a lot of rivals out there. It’s different here because everybody, when they beat us, celebrates. It’s kind of an unbelievable thing to see as a transfer. It shows you how far this program has come and how prestigious it is, because no one really cares if they beat a bad school.”
Colona said that there was not much difference in the talent level between the two teams. “There are a lot of similarities between the two with the talent level. People don’t normally assume it’s the same talent level. There are teams in the ACHA, like Arizona St., that could be in the top level at the Division 3. There are good players everywhere.”
He said the one big difference between the two divisions is coaching. “The first difference I see is I believe there’s a lot better coaching on the Division 1 level. I’ve really enjoyed my experience here with Coach Rocky and Coach Ken. It’s been a good experience down here.”
He agreed with a majority of the players that I interviewed that Rhode Island is the team’s biggest rival. He noted the two teams history and how nasty the games are between the two schools.
When asked, Colona was unable to come up with a favorite moment with the Blue Hens. He did say that he enjoys being around the team and that this year’s team has a lot of character. In his words, he said the team has a lot of “definition” that is the team’s biggest asset.
By: Tyler Fitzpatrick
The link for the full interview is below: