Jeremy Colliton runs intense practices. Heavy respiratory and sweat-dripping brows are widespread sights within the Blackhawks’ locker room.
However for brand new Hawks defenseman Calvin de Haan, who performed alongside Colliton within the AHL eight years in the past, most of the strenuous components appear oddly acquainted.
“It’s humorous as a result of there’s a pair drills that we’ve executed all through coaching camp and apply that I’ve seen a couple of instances earlier than,” de Haan mentioned Thursday, chuckling. “I’ve type of known as him out on that.”
The veteran blueliner finds himself in a state of affairs few NHL gamers have ever skilled: being coached by a former teammate.
As a rookie within the Islanders group in 2011-12, de Haan spent all however one sport of the season with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. And in Bridgeport, Colliton was royalty — he was the staff’s captain and, by the tip of the yr, its all-time main scorer.
Regardless of occupying totally different positions (Colliton was a ahead), de Haan’s standing as a latest first-round decide meant he and the longer term Hawks boss nonetheless often labored and performed collectively. De Haan’s third-ever skilled level, the truth is, was the first help on a Colliton additional time winner.
“I used to be coming in proper out of juniors, not understanding something about professional hockey, transferring in with a pair different 20-year-old children,” de Haan mentioned final July, shortly after his commerce from Carolina to Chicago. “Having Jeremy there was in all probability just like the … greatest captain you might have requested for for the younger staff.”
The 2 males went separate instructions after that season — Colliton transferring to Sweden and rapidly switching to teaching, de Haan rising as a full-time NHL defenseman with now 380 profession appearances — however de Haan mentioned he was by no means stunned to see the pace with which Colliton was climbing the ranks.
Offseason addition Calvin de Haan made his Blackhawks debut final weekend in opposition to the Jets.Getty
Since their reunion in Chicago in the beginning of coaching camp, he’s seen firsthand how Colliton’s management qualities have translated to his present function.
“I’ve loved taking part in for him up to now,” de Haan mentioned. “I might see it when he was a captain in Bridgeport, and he hasn’t modified a lot — he’s a wise man and he thinks outdoors the field, and that’s the brand new NHL.”
Their preexisting relationship has proved helpful, too, regardless of the eight years aside.
As de Haan labored his method again from offseason shoulder surgical procedure and a groin concern in the course of the preseason, the Hawks’ Europe journey and the primary week of the common season, Colliton and de Haan chatting on the ice after apply was a near-daily incidence.
De Haan wanted to provide Colliton each day updates on his well being standing, and Colliton wanted to familiarize de Haan along with his hybrid defensive scheme, which de Haan mentioned differs considerably from the man-on-man system he ran with the Hurricanes. Regardless of one misstep, the common communication was largely efficient.
“Once you’ve performed with a man, you’ve a connection,” Colliton mentioned. “Perhaps it’s a bit faster to have the ability to get to the purpose, as a result of he is aware of me, and I might be fairly direct with him. That’s a pleasant factor.”
De Haan lastly made his Hawks debut final weekend after which performed effectively alongside Erik Gustafsson on the third pairing Monday — the duo was on the ice for 12 Hawks scoring probabilities and solely 4 Oilers scoring probabilities.
Now totally wholesome, De Haan will seemingly slide into a bigger function quickly. And when he does, he is aware of he’ll have a chief useful resource for any questions he wants answered.
“Jeremy’s very approachable,” he mentioned. “He’s simple to speak to, simple to get together with, and having that relationship earlier than positively helps for positive.”