There’s many reasons I thought that it was fitting to write a featured article on Collin Delia, one being the the support with my passion for photography from his father, and some of his relatives. They were the first to really start following me, so I saw it fit to almost give something back to them. Also there’s not a whole lot out there about Collin’s career history. This might not be the full story, but I hope it sheds a little more light on his road to the NHL, and what makes him the player that he is.
Roller Hockey to Ice Hockey
Southern California is not the first place that comes to mind when you think of a hockey players beginning, but that is where Collin Delia’s journey begins. At the age of five Delia was exposed to many different sports, from t-ball to little league, but hockey was always the one he was drawn to. He started at a local Wayne Gretzky Roller Hockey Rink, not far from the family’s apartment.
Roller hockey is not the traditional start most NHL players have with hockey, and it’s something that makes Collin stand out from the rest of the crowd of NHL goaltenders. By the age of 12 he had made that transition to ice hockey, after winning the NARCH Roller Hockey Championship.
During his time with the Junior Ducks ice Peewee B team, Collin served as the team’s only goalie.
The Bumpy Road to Amerillo
Right after Collin turned 18, he headed off to Amerillo where he would play for two years with the local NAHL team, the Amarillo Bulls, but that was not Delia’s first taste of the junior hockey. In the spring of 2012 he was rostered to be on the Langley Riverman, a BCHL team in western Canada, after a very successful tryout weekend. Only for a month later to be cut. This left him with no junior team, and the family headed out to find one.
They found themselves in Iowa, where Collin would try out for the Des Moines Buccaneers, of the USH, yet again lead the pack of goalies that were fighting for a roster spot, but the Buccaneers already had two goalies that college commitments in front of him. Although this weekend did not have the outcome they were hoping for many offers came out of it. Several Division 1 schools reached out, along with a few NAHL teams.
In two weeks the family would be heading off to Michigian, to do a formal tryout with Amarillo Bulls. During Collin’s two years with Bulls he would win the Robertson Cup, and the next year advancing to the playoffs. It’s also worth noting that during his second season with the Bulls he was recognized to be one of the top goalies in the league.
Next Stop College
During Delia’s second season of juniors he started to get scouted by several different D1 schools. Those schools included University of University of Massachusetts, the University of Minnesota, Cornell University, Merrcyhurst and Merrimack College. Merrimack would the the school Delia would end up picking.
Hockey for Eastern Colleges are dominated by big schools, like Boston University and Notre Dame, but Delia chose one of the smaller schools to start his next chapter in his professional hockey career. During Collin’s first season with the Merrimacks he only dressed for six games, and started five, finishing the season with a 4-4-1 record with a 1.86 GAA and .937SV%, along with those numbers Delia was named HEA Top Performer twic.
During his second season he appeared in net 26 times, started 15 out of those games, before missing four games due to an injury. Finishing out his sophomore year with a 8-12-6 record. Evan though his GAA went up his SV% stayed the same.
Collin’s junior year he would go on to be in both the New England Hockey Writers All-England Division I All-star and Hockey East Third Team All-Star. He would also end up being goaltender of the month and named Hockey East Defensive player of the week twice. He would post his best season yet as a starting goaltender in Hockey East, starting 21 games with 9-8-3.
The National Hockey League
During College the NHL came knocking on Delia’s door, getting invitations to the Maple Leafs and Sabres prospect camps after only his freshman year at Merrimack College. The following summer he got invited to the Ducks and Blackhawks. After his Junior year the Blackhawks gave him another call, along with the Washington Capitals.
Collin ended up signing with the Blackhawks, and starting the season down with the Indy Fuel. Where he now holds title to the only player to ever work his way up to the NHL from the Fuel. Due to injuries plaguing the Hawks goaltending the past few seasons Collin has received many A+ chances at playing in NHL games.
Jeremy Colliton seems to be more willing to let him play when called up, then what Q would have, and has let GM Stan Bowman to give Collin Delia a contract extension, and who knows he might get to be full time on the Hawks roster next season.
Off the Ice
Off the ice Delia is a very humble and giving person. During his time in Amarillo he assisted and helped organize a Habit for Humanity Project, where they helped build a house for a member of the community. During his sophomore year in college, Collin was selected Hobey Baker Candidate. He was a Hockey Humanitarian for three years, and a finalist his last year at Merrimack.
There is no question where Collin gets his creativity and ability to work with his hands because his father is a carpenter. Just this past summer Delia has opened up his own leather goods company, Portiere Leather. Collin’s dad Nick let me know what he thought might have sparked the inspiration of Portiere Leather, “One Christmas, Collin was home we got him a tote type messenger bag. When he came home that summer it needed to be repaired. So it mostly likely to inspire him to make it better thus Portiere Leather Company.”